|Note: as of January 2013, the loop described below is unavailable (trail is washed out)
San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
This easy 8 mile hike requires a long out and back slog on levee roads, but the reward is sublime bird watching and serenity on paths at the bay's edge.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 8 mile partial loop hike is easy, but long. Trails are flat.
Wide dirt levees and narrow trails.
Very hot in summer, but good anytime.
From US 101 in Marin County, exit CA 37. Drive about 7.5 miles east on CA 37, to the junction with 121. Continue east on CA 37 about 0.7 mile more, then turn right into the preserve (there is no refuge sign, but the entrance is just after a flurry of "no parking" signs along the side of the road). Note: there is no access to the refuge from westbound CA 37. If you're approaching that direction, you'll need to turn around at the CA 121 junction and enter from the eastbound lane of CA 37.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS coordinates* for trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, restaurants, stores, and pay phones back in Novato. No camping.
Small paved lot. No parking or entrance fees. No designated handicapped parking, and poor wheelchair access. No drinking water or restrooms. Maps at an information signboard 2.5 miles into the refuge. There is no direct public transportation to this trailhead. Note that hunting is permitted in parts of this refuge, from September to February.
Trails are open to hikers and cyclists during daylight hours. Dogs are not permitted, except to accompany hunters during hunting season.
The Official Story:
Park office at Mare Island 707-562-3000
San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Map from San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Map from the Bay Trail website
Tubbs Island in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.
View photos from this hike.
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
Island, part of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife
Refuge, is home to an astounding assortment of wildlife. Throughout 13,000
acres of salt marsh, mudflats, freshwater wetlands, and uplands, you might
see jackrabbits, hawks, pelicans, ducks, avocets, swifts, egrets, stilts,
and endangered creatures like the clapper rail and salt marsh harvest
mouse. These year-round residents are joined in autumn by migratory ducks
and shorebirds, and the raptor population swells to include falcons, kestrels,
kites, and northern harriers. Larger mammals roam the marsh as well, but
you will probably only see their footprints. Although there are a few
farms on the outskirts of the refuge, and CA 37 is rarely out of earshot,
Tubbs Island feels very remote.