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The 1940-Acre Palo Alto Baylands Preserve is one of the large preserved marshlands of the San Francisco Bay, and is often considered one of the best bird watching areas on the west coast. Not only is there a substantial bird population at home in the Bylands but it is also an important stopover on the Pacific Flyway. The trail system provides visitors with scenic wildlife, marsh and slough views, and connects the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center.
There are several notable trail loops and routes within the Baylands Preserve including the Adobe Creek Loop Trail, the San Francisquito Creek Trail, the Marsh Front Trail and the Renzel Trail, all of which connect to make a large loop around the preserve totaling over 10 miles. These trails are also considered part of the San Francisco Bay Trail, which is 300 miles of trails that encircle the entire San Francisco Bay.
Starting at San Antonio Rd, where there is limited parking available, this trailhead gives visitors entrance to the park via. the Adobe Creek Loop Trail. The trail heads north from here, and takes trail users out onto the marshlands and along the Charleston Slough on pavement and gravel levees. This first section of the trail is an excellent viewing point for black skimmers, Forster's Terns and american white pelicans. Rounding the edge of the Marshlands the Adobe Creek Loop Trail, trail users are treated to expansive views of the San Francisco Bay. For visitors looking for a shorter route, the Adobe Creek Loop Trail loops back towards East Bayshore Dr. to make a complete 5.6 mile loop. The Adobe Creek Loop Trail also passes by Hilltop Tails, a series of hiking only trails that criss-cross Byxbee Park Hills via. short and steep climbs.
2.5 miles after the trail leaves from San Antonio Rd. it connects with the Marsh Front Trail, a 1-mile trail that connects the San Francisquito Creek Trail to the Adobe Creek Loop Trail and passes the short Duck Pond Loop. The short but sweet Marsh Creek Trail is ideal for birders and fisherman alike. Wintering shorebirds and ducks can be seen in the winter and in the spring, black Crowned night herons and snowy egrets can be see along the Duck Pond Loop.
At the End of the Marsh Creek Trail, trail users are given access to the Boat Launch and Sailing Station and the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Center, a beautiful events and education center built out on boardwalks overtop of the Harriet Mundy Marsh and also leads to the Baylands Observation Deck and Boardwalk. The Nature Center is also a perfect spot for fishing.
Finally the San Francisquito Creek Trail leads off from the Nature Center and skirts the outside of the Palo Alto Airport and the Palo Alto Golf Course. To complete the 10 mile loop after the San Francisquito Loop Trail ends at Embarcadero Rd, visitor can continue along the Renzel Trail less than a mile until connecting back onto the Adobe Creek Loop Trail.
There is parking access at many points along the Baylands Trails including the Adobe Creek trailhead on San Antonio Rd., where the Marsh Creek Trail meets the Adobe Creek Trail along Embarcadero Road, and at the boat launch. At each of these parking lots, there are also restroom facilities available. See TrailLink Map for more detailed information.
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