Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline,
East Bay Regional Park District,
Alameda County
In brief:
Easy out and back walk along Oakland wetlands.

Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 1.7 mile out and back walk is very easy. The shoreline area is completely flat.

Full sun.

Trail traffic:

Trail surfaces:
Paved sidewalk-style trails and one shore boardwalk segment.

Walking time:
Less than 1 hour.

Any time is nice.

Getting there:
From Interstate 880 in Alameda County, exit Hegenberger (exit 36). Drive west on Hegenberger about 1 mile, then turn right onto Doolittle. Drive north on Doolittle about 0.3 mile, and turn right onto Swan Way. Almost immediately, turn left into the park. Drive on the park road about 0.8 mile to the parking lot at the end of the road.

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:

GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
Latitude 3744'31.53"N
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging:
Pay phones, stores, restaurants, and gas back on Hegenberger. No camping.

Trailhead details
No parking or entrance fees. Lots of parking in a paved lot. Drinking water, restrooms, and a map (under glass) at the trailhead. There are designated handicapped parking spots and wheelchair access to flat paved trails. Several AC Transit buses run along Doolittle, at the shoreline's perimeter. Visit the Transit Info website for details.

Trails are multi-use. Dogs are permitted (must be leashed in marsh area).

The Official Story:
EBRPD's MLK Regional Shoreline page

Map Choices:
• Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Map from EBRPD
Map from Bay Trail website.
• David Weintraub's East Bay Trails has a good map and descriptions of a shoreline hike (order this book from

MLK Jr. Shoreline in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.

View photos from this hike.

Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline is Trailheadelevated above a common city park by Arrowhead Marsh, a small wetland remnant on the edge of San Leandro Bay. On a visit to the shoreline you might see pelicans, hawks, ducks, swifts, swallows, egrets, and tiny shorebirds in the marsh, bay, and sky. Wildlife in this setting is a surprise, since the park is small, and is squeezed on all sides by industrial businesses. Interstate 880 is only about 1 mile to the east, and Oakland Airport sits off to the southwest.
     There are multiple entrance points to the shoreline, permitting easy access and a variety of flat, unchallenging walks. In the heart of the park an elevated platform provides a good vantage point for birdwatching, but you're bound to catch glimpses of wildlife throughout the shoreline. If you're interested in exploring the bay on a kayak,Boardwalk  there are a few boat launches as well as several short fishing piers.
     Picnic areas, restrooms, and a manicured lawn are nice extras for joggers, dogwalkers, and folks out for a stroll on the paved paths. From this trailhead in the middle of the park there are a few walking options, all easy and fairly short. Two parallel paths along San Leandro Creek create a logical 1.8 mile loop that stretches from the marsh to Hegenberger and back. Arrowhead Marsh Trail lingers along the southern arm of the bay, while Garretson Point Trail reaches north to the Garretson Point trailhead. Both these trails are out-and-back, and neither provides a true natural experience: Garretson Point Trail skirts industrial buildings, while Arrowhead Marsh Trail offers unobstructed views of Oakland Airport buildings and traffic on Doolittle Drive. Arrowhead Marsh Trail
     Begin at the information signboard, near the elevated observation platform. Walk on the paved path, ducking under the platform and emerging at the edge of a grassy lawn. Although natural unmaintained settings are always appreciated, the site of cool, trimmed, green grass in the dead of summer is a decadent pleasure. You may want to take a tour of the interpretive displays on the platform, which explain about the shrinking wetlands and restoration efforts. If so, veer right and take the steps up to the platform. If you want to skip it, simply continue about 200 feet to an unmarked T junction. Turn left.Return
     Flat paved Arrowhead Marsh Trail edges along the water, with fennel, coyote brush, and mustard softening a shoreline of riprap.At 0.10 mile, near some benches, turn right onto the boardwalk.
     Slightly elevated above cordgrass and pickleweed, the boardwalk stretches into the marsh, where you might see white egrets and great blue herons. If you train your gaze west you may see a bit of the San Francisco skyline peeking out over a little hill. The boardwalk ends at 0.16 mile -- turn around and retrace your steps back to Arrowhead Marsh Trail, then turn right.
      There are picnic areas and planted trees on the left, but to the right a jumble of shoreline plants suggest a more natural landscape. You may see dock, fennel, sea lavender, sea fig, and yellow-flowered gumplant. Butterflies and dragonflies flit about in the summer. View of the marsh from the elevated platform near the trailheadIf you're lucky enough to spot a pelican out on the bay, keep an eye on the giant bird's antics -- pelicans love to fly over water and splash down for a fish. Squirrels are common through here, and the hawk I glimpsed out of the corner of my eye may explain the presence of squirrel and rabbit remains scattered along the trail. At 0.93 mile, you'll draw near a shoreline parking lot just off Swan Way and Doolittle Drive. Traffic and airport noise seems to be loudest in this area. Turn around and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Total distance: 1.74 miles
Last visit: Tuesday, August 6, 2002