City of Menlo Park,
San Mateo County
0.7 mile loop hike at a small park on the bay.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 0.7 mile loop hike is very easy. Trails meander up and down the slightest of hills.
Under an hour.
Nice year round.
From US 101 in San Mateo County, exit Marsh Road. Drive east, and where the road bends sharply right at the junction with Bayfront Expressway, continue straight into the park. You can park along the road a short distance from the trailhead, or continue to one of two parking lots.
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:
There are no facilities in the immediate area, but you'll find gas, stores, restaurants, and pay phones a few miles north in Redwood City, or west in Menlo Park. No camping.
No parking or entrance fees. There are 3 designated handicapped parking spots in the first parking lot, and some of the trails are suitable for wheelchairs. Restrooms at first parking lot. No maps or drinking water.
Park is open from sunrise to one half hour before sunset. Dogs are permitted, on leash only.
The Official Story:
Menlo Park's Bayfront Park page
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Map from the Bay Trail website (download pdf)
Peninsula Trails, by Jean Rusmore, (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and park descriptions.
View photos from this hike.
had driven past Bayfront Park many times before finally
stopping for a look around. The little green hills of this park at the
edge of the bay were enticing, but the surrounding area seemed a little
dicey. Sometimes out-of-the-way places attract lurkers (or worse) on weekdays,
and Bayfront Park is set off by itself in a semi-industrial area not far
from East Palo Alto and the Dumbarton Bridge. I wondered if the park was
safe for solitary visitors. Then I pondered why I was worrying about safety.
In particular, why did Bayfront feel so different from nearby Bair Island?
Both are open space shoreline properties by default, and are oddly situated
amongst semi-industrial zones. I think the defining quality of both places
is one of topography: Bair Island is level and Bayfront Park has hills
(hills made from garbage, but hills nonetheless). Bair Island's flat landscape
lends an open, if somewhat desolate feeling, while
Bayfront's knolls and trees make me wonder who could be hiding in the
shadows. I certainly would not avoid Bayfront Park, but I would feel most
comfortable walking with another person. If you want to go solo, consider
a weekend or midday stroll on a weekday. On weekends the park gets a steady
stream of traffic, and Monday through Friday many workers from nearby
companies such as Sun stop by for a lunchtime run or walk.