Cesar Chavez/North Waterfront Park,
City of Berkeley,
Alameda County
In brief:
1.7 mile loop walk along the bay.

Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 1.7 mile loop walk is very easy, traveling on flat paved trails.

Full sun

Trail traffic:

Trail surfaces:
Paved trails.

Walking time:
Less than 1 hour.

Nice any time.

Getting there:
From Interstate 80 in Berkeley (Alameda County), exit University (exit 11). Drive west on University about 0.4 mile, then bear right onto Marina Boulevard. Drive north on Marina Boulevard 0.3 mile, at which point the road turns sharply left and becomes Spinnaker. Continue 0.3 mile on Spinnaker 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 3752'10.80"N
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging
Gas in nearby Berkeley; a few restaurants in the Marina area, with more choices on nearby Berkeley streets. No camping.

Trailhead details:
No parking or entrance fees. Parking in a small lot, with additional space along the length of Spinnaker. Map display at the trailhead. There are several designated handicapped parking spots, wheelchair-accessible portable toilet near the parking lot, and paved trails perfectly suited to wheelchairs. Drinking water in several locations throughout the park.

Park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dogs are permitted on leash throughout the park, and off leash in a designated area.

The Official Story:
City of Berkeley's Cesar Chavez Park page
City of Berkeley's Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront: 510-981-6700

Map Choices:
Map from Bay Trail website (download pdf)

Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

As the Bay Trail follows the Alameda County shoreline, the trail travels from park to park, Trailheadlike charms spaced on a bracelet. Berkeley's Cesar Chavez/North Waterfront Park is a small park situated right on the waterfront just north of Berkeley Marina, and hosts a Bay Trail segment with great views of the Berkeley Hills, Angel Island, and San Francisco. This former landfill is also a great place to fly a kite, romp with a dog, or cool off on a scorching hot summer day, on paved, almost perfectly flat trails that are well suited to strollers and wheelchairs.
     Trails snake through a grassy, manicured area on the south side of the park, then depart to wander the shoreline in a more natural setting (if any setting can be natural at a former landfill). A special off-leash area is provided for dog owners, and the park, popular with folks on a lunch break, seems busy all day long. Paved path along shoreline
     Begin from the parking lot on a paved path departing east, running along Spinnaker. When the path forks, stay to the left and make your way around a rounded low knoll, passing an assortment of planted vegetation on the left, including cypress, pine, and ceanothus. Just past a picnic area, pass the entrance to the off-leash area on the left, and follow the path as it winds through grass, passing another picnic area on the right. As you near the south edge of the park again, bear left, walk parallel to Spinnaker once more, then at 0.5 mile, turn left, now heading north.
      The path soon leaves the manicured lawn and enters the park's "Nature Area." Trailside vegetation is mostly fennel, mustard, dock, and coyote brush, and squirrels (denizens of riprap) are common through here, perched on the big rocks that protect the shoreline. You might also see grebes swimming in the bay and egrets here and there. Views east to Berkeley are unobstructed, and as the trail bends left, shift to include Richmond.Bench and bay facing west  A series of benches make good, but sometimes windy, lunch spots. When the trail sweeps left again, the views west open up to include Angel Island and San Francisco. Now traveling south, look for New Zealand spinach growing draped across rocks on the right. In summer the air blowing off the bay seems positively heaven-sent, clean, cool, and fresh. This section of shoreline is an excellent vantage point to enjoy a sunset on a clear day. The trail returns to the lawn-like part of the park, and winds past one last picnic area before ending back at the parking lot.

Total distance: 1.7 miles
Last visit: Thursday, July 24, 2003