The Baylands Nature Preserve, said to be the largest salt marsh preserve on the Bay, encompasses nearly 2,000 acres protected for wildlife, including the endangered clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse. The preserve contains a duck pond (formerly a saltwater swimming pool); tidal and freshwater marshes; a sailing station for windsurfers and hand-carried, non-motorized boats; and almost...
The Baylands Nature Preserve, said to be the largest salt marsh preserve on the Bay, encompasses nearly 2,000 acres protected for wildlife, including the endangered clapper rail and salt marsh harvest mouse. The preserve contains a duck pond (formerly a saltwater swimming pool); tidal and freshwater marshes; a sailing station for windsurfers and hand-carried, non-motorized boats; and almost 15 miles of trails, all of which have some wheelchair access. Although quite a few of the trails are along roads or in built-up areas, many are close to attractive sloughs where a wide variety of birds can be seen even without binoculars, and some are out in the marshlands, where a flock of sandpipers or a lonely blue heron may be your only company.
Jackrabbits are frequently seen in the restored wildlands above the high-water line, where gray foxes and burrowing owls are said to breed. But within the preserve you'll also find a sewage treatment plant, an airport, and a former landfill for the city of San Francisco, which is now a grassy garbage mountain named the Bixby Art Hill, home to several very understated pieces of public art. Highway 101 is nearby, as is Palo Alto's golf course.
: A quarter-mile down the road from the duck pond is the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center. Inside are displays about the wildlife you might see at the preserve and an ecology laboratory where visitors can prepare their own slides and examine them under microscopes. The microscopes are on a 25-inch-high shelf, but a video microscope that projects slides onto a monitor permits easier viewing. The center also offers videos, nature walks, and a variety of natural history programs for children and adults. On the wooden deck surrounding the nature center, use the low-mounted telescope to zoom in on shorebirds and waterfowl. A long boardwalk extending from the center across Harriet Mundy Marsh is closed for major renovations.
The most popular lot is at the Adobe Creek trailhead, where the one designated space is very likely to be occupied. Each of the several small lots along Embarcadero Rd. has a van-accessible space, and at the sailing station, a gravel lot has several van-accessible spaces.
Restrooms with running water are at the nature center (open only when the center is) and Bixby Art Park parking area; porta-potties are at the duck pond and sailing station.
Several tables are by the duck pond; all are near the parking lot on firm grass or dirt, and two have shortened benches to provide integrated seating for at least two wheelchairs each.
Reviewed by Ann Sieck, November 5, 2014