Ron Horii's Bay Area Back Pages - Bay Area Biking

Bay Trail at the Port of Redwood City

From Bayfront Park in Menlo City, the proposed Bay Trail follows along Haven Avenue. This is primarily an old industrial area, with no views of the Bay. There are no bike lanes on 2-lane Haven Avenue. Haven turns into East Bayshore Road, which follows along several mobile home parks, a junkyard, and some commercial office buildings. A tall soundwall separates the road from Hwy 101. There is a bike path only along the north side of the road, but it ends when the road turns to the right to meet Seaport Blvd. At the intersection of Seaport Blvd. and East Bayshore Road, the Bay Trail begins. It runs along Seaport Blvd. and ends at the Redwood City Marina at Seaport Court. Since parking is limited at East Bayshore Road, it's best to park at the marina to enjoy this section of the Bay Trail.

Redwood City has a surprisingly picturesque marina, which is not easily seen from the main highway. The view of the port from Hwy 101 reveals only huge concrete towers and salt mounds. The marina itself has some newly-constructed buildings in the Cape Cod style, which are mostly professional offices. The buildings are surrounded by nicely landscaped lawns, with a paved path winding between the lawns and the waterfront. Benches and shade trees are along the path. The benches provide nice views of the boats sailing in and out of the harbor. An Italian restaurant and steakhouse occupy a large circular building. They have a gazebo and an outdoor dining area behind a glass wall. Boats of all size, including some large luxury yachts are docked in the marina. A boardwalk along the marina leads to a conference center. Farther along is a sailing school and a yacht club.

Crossing Seaport Blvd. at Seaport Court leads to the paved section of the Bay Trail. The trail is a wide concrete sidewalk on the southeast side of Seaport Blvd. The trail is landscaped on both sides, providing some isolation from the road. To the southeast is Cargill (formerly Leslie Salt) Company's huge complex of salt ponds. A large tank is painted to look like a giant container of salt.

At 0.8 miles, tree-lined Chesapeake Drive branches off to the right, leading into a green landscaped industrial park. At the end of that road is the Port of Redwood City's public boat launching facility. A walkway runs from there along the southwest side of the marina. Beyond the boat launching ramp is the locked entrance to the huge snowy white Cargill salt mounds. A side road continues on to the left around the salt mounds to the Marine Science Institute's research facilities and boat dock. The institute runs the educational Discovery Voyages boat trips on the bay for school children.

Back on the Bay Trail, a narrow channel follows along the east side of the trail. Waterfowl can be found in this shallow channel. After 1.3 miles, the trail ends at East Bayshore Road. A short unofficial dirt path leads east to views of the salt ponds. Unless you want to continue to other parts of the Bay Trail on surface roads, turn around and head back to the marina.

To go farther, Cross Seaport Blvd. and head down Blomquist Street, an industrial street with a bike lane. Turn right on Maple Street and follow it to the Docktown Marina. This is an older marina, with boats of all kinds, including a number of large residential houseboats. Follow the road through the marina all the way to the loop at the end. Here a dirt path leads up to a pedestrian bridge over Redwood Creek. The bridge leads to an empty field next to the newly-built Peninsula Marina on Bair Island Road. If you take Bair Island Road to the right, it leads to Pete's Harbor. This is another marina with a wide variety of boats. From here you can look across the channel to get a good view of Bair Island.

Heading back on Bair Island Road, which has bike lanes, turn right on busy East Bayshore Road, which does not have bike lanes. The road has auto dealers and a lage movie theater complex. The road curves to the right and meets Whipple Road. At the end of Whipple Road is an informal parking area and a path leading over a slough to a locked gate. This is the entrance to Bair Island. Bair Island is actually a series of three islands that were former salt ponds. Parts of the outer two islands are part of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The inner island is the only one accessible from land and was recently purchased by the Peninsula Open Space Trust. It is open to the public and is a popular place for jogging, dog-walking, and biking. Rules are posted. Levee trails lead around the perimeter of the island, with views of San Carlos Airport, Steinberger Slough, Smith Slough, and the outer islands. Other trails cross through the center of the island. The inner island is a mixture of dry mud flats, wetlands, and waterways. Since Bair Island is an island with only the one bridge at the entrance, there is no land route to the north to reach Redwood Shores. You need to take Whipple Road west of Hwy 101 and take surface streets to reach Holly Street. Take Holly Street back over Hwy 101 to Redwood Shores Parkway to reach the next segment of the Bay Trail.

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Ron Horii, San Jose
Created 6/1/99