Mountain View - Shoreline Park

Wind surfers on Shoreline Lake

Access Information
Shoreline at Mountain View Park Tour

Return to the Stevens Creek Trail Tour and Moffett Field/NASA Ames
Go to the Palo Alto Baylands Tour
Go to the Sunnyvale Baylands Tour
Return to the Bay Trail Guided Photo Tours page


West of Stevens Creek near the Bay is Shoreline at Mountain View. Shoreline at Mountain View Park is a beautiful 700-acre park with a saltwater lake, golf course, rolling grassy hills, and bay trails. It's hard to believe it was built on mountains of trash. For 13 years, starting in 1968, 500 acres of the land near the bay was used here as a landfill for trash from the city of San Francisco. In 1983, Mountain View closed the dump and began turning it into a park. Here is a history of the park. Next to Shoreline Park are the towering tent peaks, the largest in the world, of the Shoreline Amphitheatre . The park's 50-acre lake is popular with wind surfers and small boaters. The strong bay winds make the park a favorite place for stunt kite flying. The park has 10 miles of trails, some paved, some dirt. Paved trails lead past the golf course, around the lake, and along the tidal marshes and salt ponds . Some trails lead northwest to Palo Alto's Baylands Nature Preserve.

Access Information

This tour begins from the end of the Stevens Creek Trail. See the Mountain View-Stevens Creek page for access information.

To reach Shoreline at Mountain View directly from the south, take Hwy 101 to the Shoreline Blvd. exit. Shoreline Blvd. leads directly into the main entrance of the park. From the north, take Hwy 101 south, exit at Amphitheatre Parkway, then turn left at Shoreline Blvd. to the park entrance. The start of the Shoreline Trail is near the Crittenden Lane Trailhead. Crittenden Lane is east off Shoreline Blvd. before the entrance to the park. The back side of the park can be reached by taking Hwy 101 to the San Antonio Avenue off-ramp and heading north. San Antonio turns right at Terminal Blvd. There is parking along Terminal Blvd. Trails lead into the west side of the park. The park can also be reached from the Bay Trail along East Bayshore Road from Palo Alto, or back along the Palo Alto Baylands Marsh trail.

Click on the following pictures to see a larger version . Hold your cursor over the pictures to read the captions. The pictures were taken on different days and in different seasons. Note that the mileage readings below were taken from a bicycle odometer. Your mileage may vary.

Shoreline at Mountain View Park Tour

Shoreline Park Trail Entrance by end of Stevens Creek Trail This tour begins where the Stevens Creek Trail tour leaves off, just past the Crittenden Lane Trailhead, near the NASA concrete bridge over Stevens Creek. The starting mileage at this point is 5.8 miles. The trail here runs along Stevens Creek, but it is one of the trails at Shoreline at Mountain View Park.

At 6.2 miles is the Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh Trail Entrance. The marsh is a triangular tidal marsh that is fed by waters from Stevens Creek, which at this point is a tidal slough.

Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh at high tide, east shore . The marsh is a havens for waterfowl of all types. At high tide, the marsh is a shallow lake. Wading birds, like egrets and herons, search for food in the shallow waters at high tide.

Mudflats on Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh At low tide, it is a mudflat cut with small snaking channels. Shorebirds, like sandpipers, scurry over the mudflats at low tide. These are some of the Shoreline Park wildlife.

Southeast end of Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh, looking north This point is at the narrow corner of the Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh. There is an interpretive sign here. A trail runs around to the west side of the marsh. For now, continue north on the east side of the marsh, next to the creek.

At 6.6 miles is a steel bridge over Stevens Creek. Just beyond that, a wooden footbridge (no bikes allowed) runs over the tidal marsh to the west shore. This provides an excellent vantage point for viewing the wildlife on the marsh. On the right side of the trail is a narrow inlet channel that connects to Stevens Creek.

At 6.7 miles, a small finger of land extends into the marsh next to two tall power towers. Short catwalks lead to the towers.

Observation pier on Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh At 6.8 miles, a short wooden viewing platform, mounted on pilings, extends into the marsh.

Outlet of Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh outlet onto Stevens Creek At 6.9 miles, there is a wide inlet channel on the right side of the trail. The channel connects the marsh to Stevens Creek. Water flows through pipes under the trail. On the left side of the trail is a fenced-off observation point and bench on the shore of the marsh.

End of Shoreline Park trail by salt pond west of Stevens Creek At 7.0 miles, the paved trail ends. Ahead is a fenced-off levee between Stevens Creek and a large Cargill salt pond to the northwest. The official park trail stops here. However, there is an informal dirt path to the left along the edge of the salt pond and to the north of the Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh. Unless you are on roller skates or the dirt path is muddy, take this path to the left.

Egret along Whisman Slough salt pond The salt pond is filled with bird life. Small islands provide nesting spots for them. The outer levee banks are private property and off-limits, though certain duck hunting club members have permission from Cargill to access them for winter hunting.

Catwalks under power towers on Whisman Slough salt pond The path along the salt pond passes by two rows of power towers in the salt pond, each with a catwalk running under them. These catwalks are off-limits.

Trail on west side of Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh, looking north towards salt pond At 7.2 miles, the dirt path meets the end of the paved trail on the west shore of the Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh. If you like, you can take this path back along the marsh. (The mileage readings will not reflect this.) It runs between the tidal marsh and a slough channel below to the landfill hills to the west.

West shore of Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh, looking south The trail runs along the west shore of the tidal marsh. Along the way are benches, and small points of land leading to power tower maintenance catwalks. It passes by the wooden bridge across the marsh and rejoins the Stevens Creek Trail at the south end of the marsh.

Shoreline park trail along landfill hill above salt pond Continuing along the salt pond north of the Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh, the paved trail runs parallel to the shore of the salt pond and is elevated above it.

Trail along edge of Whisman Slough salt pond   The dirt trail continues on along the shore of the salt pond below the paved trail.

Trail along Whisman Slough salt pond by former andfill hill   Take the paved trail. It runs along the edge of a large retired landfill . Signs warn to stay on the trail to avoid disturbing nesting birds. The green lawns of the Shoreline Golf Links soon come into view beyond the landfill hills.

Mountain View Marsh and salt pond At 7.7 miles, the trail turns to the left at the edge of the Mountain View Tidal Marsh. Dirt paths continue straight ahead between the marsh and the salt pond, but dead end at Permanente Creek.

Observation Pier on Mountain View Marsh Turn left and continue on the paved trail. A viewing platform overlooks the tidal marsh on the right.

At 7.8 miles, the trail intersects the paved path that parallels the main park road. Turn right here. The path takes a curving route along the south edge of the tidal marsh.

Permente Creek Bridges by Shoreline Lake At 8.1 miles, the trail crosses the bridge over Permanente Creek. Herons can often be seen feeding in the creek near the bridge. The area west of Permanente Creek is the heart of Shoreline at Mountain View Park. Ahead is a large parking lot.

Rengstorff House and gardens On the south side of the parking lot is the Rengstorff House . This Italianate Victorian house was built in 1867 by Henry Rengstorff, one of Mountain View's earliest settlers. It was restored and moved to its current location in 1991. It is available for rent for weddings, parties, and other occasions.

Rengstorrff House, bridge over Permanente Creek A bridge leads over Permanente Creek, connecting the Rengstorff House with the golf course.

Shoreline Golf Links, Michael's Restaurant, and Shoreline Amphitheatre seen from Shoreline Lake Farther south is the clubhouse for the golf course and Michaels at Shoreline Restaurant .

Straight ahead is the Shoreline Boathouse and sailing lake . Shoreline Lake is a 50-acre artificial salt lake. The boathouse has boat rentals, a sports shop, a cafe, restrooms, and changing rooms. The cafe has indoor dining, as well as outdoor tables for dining on a patio with views of the lake. Outdoor concerts on the lawn by the lake provide entertainment on some weekends. Sailboats, paddleboats, and kayaks are available for rent. Sailing classes are available here . The lake is a very popular wind surfing area. There is a sandy beach and outdoor showers for wind surfers. Swimming is not allowed. Green lawns surround the north end of the lake, with shady areas for picnicking. The lake is artificial, but is a popular resting and feeding spot for water birds. Here are some views of Shoreline Lake:

Beach and shower facilities along Shoreline Lake
Shoreline Lake boat docks
Shoreline Lake  north shore
View of Shoreline Lake east shore and boathouse
Egret wading in Shoreline Lake
There are many paths through this area, some for foot traffic only. For now, take the path to the right after the creek bridge. The path follows the creek bank.

Permanente Creek by Meadowlands At 8.2 miles, a path branches off to the left, which leads to Shoreline Lake. Continue to the right on the creekside path.

At 8.3 miles, the trail turns left at the park boundary along a large salt pond to the west of Permanente Creek. A fence prevents further travel along the creek banks. There is a ventilation structure here to vent the gas created by the decay of matter under the retired landfill hills here. Permanente Creek becomes Mountain View Slough, which wanders between the salt ponds and enters the Bay to the north.

The Meadowlands The trail leads past the landscaped and irrigated lawns of the lake area and behind grassy upland hills. These are the Meadowlands, under which is a retired landfill.

Paved path along Mountain View Slough salt pond The paved path continues along the edge of the upland hills, with the salt pond below. A narrow dirt path runs along the edge of the salt pond. Several paths lead back over the dry unwatered Meadowlands to the neat lawns of the lake area. This is a popular kite-flying area.

Duck  hunters on Mountain View Slough The Cargill salt pond on the right is not open to the general public, but it is used for waterfowl hunting in the winter.

Trail junction by end of Shoreline Lake At 8.4 miles, the path passes the west end of Shoreline Lake. It curves to the left and drops down.

At 8.5 miles is an intersection of several paths. The path to the left leads back to Shoreline Lake and runs along its northwest bank. This path is for foot traffic only. The path straight ahead runs along the west end of Shoreline Lake and the golf course. The path to the right leads west to Palo Alto. Take this path. It runs between the southwest corner of the salt pond and the low marsh area called the Coast Casey Forebay. The Forebay is below the level of the nearby salt pond and Shoreline Lake. It serves as a flood control basin for the surrounding area. Its mixture of fresh and salt waters provide a habitat for many species of birds.

Boats on Mountain View Slough salt pond near Charleston Slough levee At 8.6 miles, the trail passes by a closed levee on the right that separates the salt pond from Charleston Slough. Duck hunters' boats are often docked on the salt pond side. No hunting is allowed in Charleston Slough. Charleston Slough receives saltwater flow from the Bay. The waters are pumped into Shoreline Lake, then drained into Permanente Creek.

Viewing platform on Charleston Slough Along the shore of Charleston Slough is a newly-built wooden observation platform. The platform extends over the waters of the slough. There is a bench on the platform to sit and rest and watch the great variety of waterfowl in the slough.

Pump building by Coast Casey Forebay and trail junction At 8.7 miles, the trail reaches a T intersection. To the right is an unpaved levee trail between Charleston Slough and Adobe Creek leading to the Palo Alto Baylands . To the left is a paved trail. Take this trail to the left.

Swallows' nest under eaves of pump building Near this intersection is a pump building with a drinking fountain, interpretive signs, and swallows' nests under the eaves.

Adobe Creek in Palo Alto Baylands At 8.8 miles, the trail reaches a fork in the road. The branch to the right leads along Adobe Creek to the Bay Trail along Bayshore Blvd. Take the branch to the left.

Coast Casey Forebay with Shoreline Lake in the background This path runs along the southwest bank of Coast Casey Forebay. On the right is a retired water treatment plant, surrounded by marshland that used to be treatment ponds.

Terminal Blvd. parking lot by park entrance At 9.3 miles, the trail reaches the parking lot at San Antonio Road and Terminal Blvd.  (The Palo Alto Baylands tour will start here.)  A paved path runs along the edge of the parking lot. Turn left and follow this back towards the park.

At 9.4 miles is the park entrance. The path to the left leads back along the south edge of Shoreline Lake to the junction at 8.5 miles above. To the right is a wide maintenance road that runs past Shoreline Lake to the golf course. Follow this road.

View of Shoreline Lake from southwest corner by golf course At 9.7 miles, the road passes by the southwest corner of the lake. The golf course is along the south shore of the lake, but there is no access to the shore allowed here. The road now passes by the west end of the golf course.

Burrowing owl habitat At 9.9 miles, there is a small, low field here which is a burrowing owl habitat. The owl has been designated by the state as a "species of special concern" and is protected by state and federal laws. The small 8-10" tall bird nests in grassy fields in natural or artificial burrows in the ground. They can be seen in early morning and evening hours, when they forage for insects and small animals.

The paved road then turns left. It runs straight between the two parts of the golf course as a wide maintenance road.

At 10.1 miles, a path crosses the road to reach the southern portion of the golf course.

Permanente Creek Bridge and Shoreline Amphitheatre At 10.4 miles is a bridge over Permanente Creek. The bridge has decorative metal and stonework. Ahead are the tents at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

Michaels Restaurant at Shoreline Golf Links To the left is the golf course area , with a driving range, putting greens, lake, pro shop, and Michaels Restaurant. The paths around here are for registered golfers only.

Looking south along Permanente Creek to buildings by Amphitheatre Parkway Just after the bridge and to the right is the trailhead for the Permanente Creek Trail. (Note: the mileage readings do not include this trail.) This is a new paved trail that runs along the east bank of Permanente Creek next to the former landfill hills behind Shoreline Amphitheatre.

Vista Slope This hill area is called Vista Slope . The site has 1 1/2 miles of trails through the 65-acre site. Though the hills are not high, the land around is very flat, so the hills provide good vantage points with panoramic views of the area. Here are some views from Vista Slope:

Shoreline Amphitheatre from Vista Slope
View of golf course and Permanente Creek Trail from Vista Slope
View of Charleston Park from Vista Slope
View of Moffett Field and NASA Ames from Vista Slope
View of golf course, gas burners, and salt pond from Vista Slope
Benches along Permanente Creek by industrial parks Upstream are new large industrial parks. As the trail runs past them, there are benches and landscaping along the route.

Permanente Creek Trail Entrance on Charleston Road The trail runs under the Amphitheatre Parkway bridge and continues on to end at a gate on Charleston Road. There is no formal crossing here to get to the other side of Charleston Road. Nearby is the new 7-acre landscaped Charleston Park .

Permanente Creek Levee trail north of Hwy 101 The creek runs under Charleston Road and continues on, with dirt roads on both sides. It runs behind the parking lots of an industrial park area, then deadends at Hwy 101. The creek emerges from under Hwy 101 through a narrow tunnel, unfortunately too narrow for further pedestrian passage south. Permanente Creek itself originates in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one branch from Rancho San Antonio Park, and another from the Kaiser Permanente cement plant area.

Maintenance Road, gas burners, Shoreline Amphitheatre Continuing on the Shoreline maintenance road, at 10.6 miles, to the right of the trail are gas recycling facilities and the side of Shoreline Amphitheatre.

Shoreline Amphitheatre Tents The road passes by some maintenance buildings, then the giant tents of Shoreline Amphitheatre. The amphitheatre can seat 20,000 and features concerts and shows by major entertainers.

Kite-flying area by entrance to Shoreline Park At 11.1 miles is the park entrance on Shoreline Blvd. There is a gate house here. Cross Shoreline Blvd. then turn to the left and go up the path along Shoreline Blvd., then make an immediate right. To the left is a parking lot for a kite-flying area. Ahead is a paved path that runs straight along the south edge of the park north of another retired landfill , the Crittenden Site. 3/4 miles of gravel paths run up this small landfill hill. North of the path is a large overflow parking area for Shoreline Amphitheatre.

At 11.4 miles, the path reaches a fence, turns left, makes a U-turn, drops down, makes another U-turn, then meets the trail at the southwest end of the Stevens Creek Tidal Marsh. Head back south on the Stevens Creek Trail .

At 14.8 miles, the trail reaches the Landels Park trailhead. Another 0.5 miles from the Landels Park bridge takes you to the new Yuba Drive trailhead, near El Camino Real.

See here for another Shoreline Park tour .

Return to the Stevens Creek Trail Tour and Moffett Field/NASA Ames
Go to the Palo Alto Baylands Tour
Go to the Sunnyvale Baylands Tour
Return to the Bay Trail Guided Photo Tours page

Developed: 1/25/2000, updated 11/22/2002 by Ronald Horii

Information and opinions here are the responsibility of the author .