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Marsh Front Trail

Easy

Trail

1.1 mile 1.8 kilometer point to point
100% Runnable
Easy

Elevation

Ascent: 8' 2 m
Descent: -7' -2 m
High: 11' 4 m
Low: 8' 3 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 0% (0°)
Max Grade: 1% (1°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

A run along marshlands and tidal habitats providing great opportunities for bird watching.

David Hitchcock

Features Birding

Open 8am to sunset, daily

Need to Know

There are water stations along the trail, as well as restrooms at the parking lot at Byxbee Park, the Duck Pond, and the sailing station. There are also several parking lots along the way that allow you to make the trail as long or as short as you want.

Runner Notes

The trail is relatively narrow and is shared with bicyclists, so be careful in regards to what is going on around you. The trail is flat and made up of crushed oyster shells and decomposed granite.

Description

The Marsh Pond Trail starts at the parking area in Byxbee Park and meanders around the edge of the marsh past Sea Scout Base and the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center until it arrives at the Sailing Station. The trail departs the parking area via a wide gravel trail and when it gets to the entrance to the preserve, the trail breaks off to the right and turns into a singletrack trail made of crushed oyster shell and decomposed granite.

Shortly after the trail changes to singletrack, there is a viewing platform on the right where you can see various types of birds and ducks feeding as the tides come in and out in the marsh in front of you. The tidal changes can cause the smell of mud to be strong at certain times, but it passes quickly. The wind blows off the bay, making it cool even if it is warm out. At 0.4 miles, the San Francisco Loop Trail breaks off to the left while the Marsh Front Trail continues to the left. A side trail to a parking area is passed shortly after this as you make your way toward Sea Scout Base. At roughly 0.65 miles, you arrive at Sea Scout Station, where the bikes are directed to go around the station while pedestrians can run across the deck where views of the marsh spread out before you.

After another 0.2 miles, you cross a bridge and arrive at an intersection where to the left lies the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center. Here, you can learn more about the marshes and tidal basins, and run out a boardwalk to the edge of the San Francisco Bay. The Marsh Front Trail turns to the right and meanders for another quarter of a mile out to the Sailing Station where you can watch wind surfers and kite boarders as they enjoy the San Francisco Bay.

There are several benches through this area where you can sit and enjoy views of Palo Alto and the Santa Cruz Mountains as they spread out before you. After you have enjoyed the views of the mountains and the San Francisco Bay, you can retrace your steps back to your car.

Flora & Fauna

The Baylands offer bird watchers an excellent opportunity to see local and migratory birds through the year. In the winter, bird watches come to see the large number of birds that call the area home. In the spring and fall, the Baylands offer a great stopover or destination for birds as they migrate up and down the Pacific Ocean. Canada Geese, Northern Harriers, Burrowing Owls, California Least Tern, California Clapper Rail, blackbirds, pelicans, gulls, egrets, Great Blue Herons, Black-necked Stilts, American Coots, American Avocets, Marsh Wrens, Salt Marsh Song Sparrows, and a variety of other species can be seen in the preserve, especially during migratory seasons.

Jack rabbits can be seen scurrying through the marsh grass and across the trail in the evenings, as they often hear you before you see them.

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Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#2

in Byxbee Park

#24148

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#2

in Byxbee Park

#2,991

in California

#24,148

Overall
1 Views Last Month
13 Since Jun 29, 2019
Easy

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Photos

A snow egret feeds along the trail in the evening.
Jun 30, 2019 near East Pa…, CA
Views of the San Francisco Bay from the Sailing Station.
Jun 30, 2019 near East Pa…, CA
The dock at the sailing station with sweeping views.
Jun 30, 2019 near East Pa…, CA
A view of the tidal marsh from the viewing platform. You can see the Sea Scout Station off in the distance.
Jun 30, 2019 near Palo Alto, CA
The waterways are subject to the tide, so the water may be up if you are there in high tide, or you may see more mud (like this) if you are there closer to low tide.
Jun 30, 2019 near East Pa…, CA
Looking over the marsh toward Byxbee Park.
Jun 30, 2019 near East Pa…, CA

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