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Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline

This 196-acre bayside park built on a former landfill is peaceful despite the proximity of Oakland International Airport. It’s a good spot to watch northern harriers and white-tailed kites, as well as the bigger birds—jets—approaching the airport. An expansive lawn by the picnic area is a good place for tossing a Frisbee or flying a kite. Pick up...
This 196-acre bayside park built on a former landfill is peaceful despite the proximity of Oakland International Airport. It’s a good spot to watch northern harriers and white-tailed kites, as well as the bigger birds—jets—approaching the airport. An expansive lawn by the picnic area is a good place for tossing a Frisbee or flying a kite. Pick up an interpretive trail guide at the park signboard or just explore the paved 1.5-mile shoreline trail on your own. In late spring, painted lady and swallowtail butterflies frequent the mustard and fennel growing on the hillsides. Across the Bay is San Bruno Mountain; to the south you see Coyote Hills and the San Mateo Bridge. Future plans include a new entrance at Davis Street with access to a parking lot within the park.

Trail/Pathway Details

Bay Trail

Trailhead: North end of Neptune Dr.

Length: 2-4 total miles

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle

Once you get past the initial uphill stretch, the perimeter trail is level. The inland trails have some slopes that may be greater than 1:12 (a typical ramp slope).

Terrain: Hard

Description

From the trailhead, you climb a long, gentle hill for several hundred yards to a fork. There you can veer right and travel uphill to a picnic area, where a dirt trail travels inland, or continue on the smoother paved shoreline trail, as I did. The shoreline trail continues to wrap around the hillside to a spur that takes you to Roger Berry’s metal sculpture “Rising Wave.” This is a good place to enjoy views of the Bay, San Leandro Marina, and the airport’s control tower. You’ll need to retrace your route to reconnect to the perimeter trail; the other dirt trails from here are too steep to navigate in a wheelchair. Back on the shoreline trail, birdsong and the sound of water lapping against riprap draw your attention.

The trail curves inland toward a small bay that separates the park peninsula from the airport. You’ll soon come to the Bill Lockyer Bridge (railings are 54” high but are slatted so you can see through them), which crosses the San Leandro Slough and travels a half-mile past a golf course to dead-end at the new BART station for the Oakland Airport. The noise from the trains will likely be very loud. The Bay Trail then travels in either direction, parallel to Airport Drive. The stretch from the bridge to the dead end seemed to be more of a connector route for cyclists than an enjoyable extension of the shoreline trail. If you continue on the perimeter trail instead of crossing the bridge, it ends a few hundred yards at a gravel road. I attempted the gravel road, which turns inland, but the terrain was extremely bumpy, so I returned the way I came. When the new park road is in place, it may offer an alternate return route.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Plentiful street parking on Neptune Dr. Vans with lifts or ramps should park on the west side of the street, where there is a sidewalk.

Accessible Restroom: Yes

An accessible vault toilet is at the first trail junction, up the hill by the picnic area. There is no sink.

Tables near the bathroom are very high, including one that has no benches attached. More are scattered along the inland trail to the “Rising Wave” sculpture.

Other Things of Interest

On May 20, 1937, Amelia Earhart took off from the Oakland Airport on her final voyage.

Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, October 5, 2013

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Rising Wave sculpture
Rising Wave sculpture (Bonnie Lewkowicz)

Features icon key

  • hiking
  • picnic

Additional Information

View Map  
Website: www.ebparks.org
Managing Agency: East Bay Regional Parks
Address: North end of Neptune Dr.
Nearest City: San Leandro
Phone: (888) 327-2757
Hours: 5 am-10 pm
Fees: None
Dogs: On leash
Public Transportation: AC Transit

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