Marsh Front Trail
ElevationAscent: 8' 2 m
Descent: -7' -2 m
High: 11' 4 m
Low: 8' 3 m
GradeAvg Grade: 0% (0°)
Max Grade: 1% (1°)
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“A run along marshlands and tidal habitats providing great opportunities for bird watching.”— David Hitchcock
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.
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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Land Manager: City of Palo Alto, CA - Open Space and Preserves