Wildcat Marsh & Landfill Loop Trail

  • Picnic
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling

Features

  • Picnic
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling

Information

Website:
visit link
Address:
1 Parr Blvd.
Region:
San Francisco Bay Area
Phone:
Info: 510-262-1660
Hours:
Landfill Loop: Typical Hours are M-F, 7am-5pm, Sa-Su, 9am-5pm. Call 510-262-1660 for incidental closure times. Wildcat Marsh: Dawn to dusk.
Dogs:
Not allowed, service animals OK
Dogs on leash allowed on Wildcat Marsh trail
Last Visited:
October 2014
I would not call this a destination trail but a visit to Wildcat Marsh and the Landfill Loop Trail will give you a close-up look at where our trash goes (the "garbage mountain"), where our gasoline comes from (the Chevron refinery), and maybe where our energy could come from (a field of giant solar collectors). Thanks to the work of tireless Bay Trail advocates, this area is open to the public.

Birdwatching can be plentiful along the 2.8-mile Landfill Loop Trail, which angles across Wildcat Marsh, then travels between the riprapped shore of San Pablo Bay and the slopes of "garbage mountain," just north of the marsh. Nearly 60 years' worth of trash here is now sealed and cloaked with topsoil. Though pipes for monitoring containment protrude from the ground, and trees are not permitted as their roots might breach the landfill's seal, grasses and feral garden plants populate the slopes, and you may see lizards, rabbits, and even deer. There are trailside benches and interpretive displays, and fine views across San Pablo Bay.

Trails and Pathways

Trail:
Landfill Loop Trail
Trailhead Location:
Foot of Parr Blvd.
Trail Length:
2-4 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Level
Terrain:
Moderately Firm
Trail Overview: The Loop Trail is little frequented, but not entirely quiet. Loaded dump trucks prowl the mountain; the roar of machinery comes from methane-powered generators and the nearby Chevron refinery, while battlefield sound effects sometimes drift in from a rifle range two miles north. Still, here where the Bay Trail leaves city streets and follows the water's edge, you can pause to meditate on how nature hangs on, even cheek-by-jowl with civilization's less appealing consequences. Part of the trail crosses the pickleweed marsh on levees, among foraging shorebirds and diving swallows.

After about a mile the main trail curves north, or you can follow a little spur trail for .2 miles that affords a closer view of any waterfowl; at high tide here, you feel like you’re out in the Bay. Continuing north, after a third of a mile you can opt to take Upper Trail, which runs parallel to the main route while climbing garbage mountain, but it is steep and has a very soft surface. While it's possible to navigate in a motorized wheelchair, it offers little reward for the effort.

On the last section of the loop, San Pablo Creek is visible, with the tidal marsh at its mouth. Depending on the time of year, the marsh is covered in large growths of orange-colored dodder, a harmless parasite.
More Info: A few short stretches have gentle grades. Just north of the trailhead, the paved path from the parking area may be a little steeper than 1/12. Most of the surface is well-graded fine gravel, very firm and smooth, except for a stretch along garbage mountain just north of Wildcat Marsh, which has large gravel and uneven terrain.
Trail:
Wildcat Marsh Trail
Time to Complete:
30 minutes
Trailhead Location:
Southbound Richmond Pkwy., just after Pittsburg Ave. There is no entry from the northbound lane.
Trail Length:
2-4 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Level
Terrain:
Moderately Firm
Trail Overview: The Wildcat Marsh Trail starts about a mile south of the Landfill Loop Trail and leads to its trailhead. The first quarter-mile, alongside Wildcat Creek, has some natural appeal, with views of the willowy marsh and likely sightings of waterbirds. But when the trail turns north it runs for almost a mile between cyclone fences, close to acres of solar collectors that power equipment at the West County Wastewater District's treatment plant—admirable, but not very scenic. While visiting the trail in spring 2018, the path was overgrown and clouds of nats made this trail unappealing
More Info: The first section from the parking lot is paved but afterwards is large sized gravel. In 2018 the path was overgrown at its northern end.

Accessibility Features

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;

At Landfill Loop and Wildcat Creek trailheads


Accessible Restroom:
Yes – Porta-potty's at Landfill Loop Trailhead and Wildcat Marsh Trailhead

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance; A few tables are by the Wildcat Creek trailhead parking lot and another about .25 miles along the trail, at a raised viewing platform; the slope to reach it may exceed 1:12 and tree roots have buckled the asphalt. Another picnic area is midway around the Landfill Loop Trail. It is about 75 feet off the trail and you must travel across medium-size gravel. None of the tables offer an appealing setting.

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