Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline,
East Bay Regional Park District,
Alameda County
In brief:
2.1 mile loop at a former dump site right along the bay, just south of the Oakland airport.

Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 2.1 mile loop hike is easy. The shoreline area is almost completely flat.

Full sun.

Trail traffic:

Trail surfaces:
Paved and dirt trails.

Hiking time:
Less than an hour.

Nice all year.

Getting there:
From Interstate 880 in Alameda County, exit Marina Boulevard West (exit 33b). Drive west on Marina about 1.2 miles, then turn right onto Neptune. Drive about 0.6 mile on Neptune, to the end of the road.

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:

GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
Latitude 3742'34.04"N
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

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

Trailhead details:
No parking or entrance fees. Side of street parking at the edge of an industrial neighborhood. Drinking water and a map (under glass) a short distance from the road. Portable toilets about 0.2 mile from the trailhead. There are no designated handicapped parking spots and wheelchair access is blocked -- a pity, since the paved shoreline trail is well-suited to wheels. There is no direct public transportation to Oyster Bay, but AC Transit bus #55 stops within walking distance. Visit the Transit Info website for details.

Trails are multi-use. Dogs are permitted.

The Official Story:
EBRPD's Oyster Bay page

Map Choices/More Info:
• Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
EBRPD's Oyster Bay map
Map from Bay Trail website.
• The Bay Trail's Oyster Bay page

Oyster Bay in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.

View photos from this hike.

Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Since Oyster Bay Shoreline, Trailheada former dump, is still under development by the East Bay Regional Bay District, parts of the park resemble a construction site, with heavy machinery and old slabs of concrete strewn about. But a paved mile-long trail running along the shoreline is clean and peaceful, if you aren't too bothered by planes landing and taking off from adjacent Oakland Airport.
      The shoreline park is not heavily used. Regulars seem to consists solely of local San Leandro retirees and folks with dogs making a daily walk, and a handful of bicyclists. Most people walk out and back on the paved trail, a 2-mile jaunt. Due to Oyster Bay's remote yet industrial location, and scarce use, it's best to visit the park with friends.
     Start at the entrance gate. After about 250 feet, you'll arrive at the information signboard and an unsigned junction. Paved trailStay to the left on the wide paved path, a Bay Trail segment.At a very gentle ascending grade the trail skirts a hilltop, through grassland overrun with fennel. You may notice a sequence of numbered posts, part of a short loop through the center of the park. Thankfully walking in this direction the industrial area is at your back. At 0.11 mile a dirt path departs to the left. Continue straight. You'll draw near to a collection of planted vegetation including eucalyptus and cottonwood, on the right. At 0.17 mile, the first of two trails breaks off to the right, heading to a picnic area (and the portable toilets). Continue straight on the pavement. As the trail descends a bit, there are sweeping views south of the bay and the San Leandro Marina area. A trail heads right (the numbered posts and the short loop goes with it). Continue straight. Where the trail reaches the riprap-enforced shoreline, a dirt path feeds in from the left. Bear right. An old fence sets a trail border on the right, but there are some broken segments with paths heading uphill, as well as more substantial (but unsigned) junctions with established trails. BenchContinue on the paved trail. Airplane traffic to and from Oakland Airport is constant. A small amount of vegetation is squeezed in along the trail -- the usual shoreline community of mustard, poison hemlock, dock, fennel, and coyote brush, with some invasive thistles, including yellow star. Benches are placed every so often on the right, and you can sit, eat lunch, and enjoy the view across the bay to the peninsula and Santa Cruz Mountains. Look for jackrabbits in the grassland on the right, where old dumped concrete sections jut up from the weeds. As the trail makes its way north, the airport buildings come into view. I was tired of the airport and wanted to explore the grassland, so instead of continuing to the end of the paved trail (the usual pattern for most visitors, and of course, an option for your walk), A trail through a construction zoneI decided to check out an alternate route. At 1.32 miles, just past a bench on the left, the paved trail swings left, and a broad dirt trail veers right and uphill. Turn right onto the dirt trail.
      My route was fragmented and somewhat confusing. It's hard to get lost in this small park, but if you get confused aim yourself east toward the hills (at one point I tried to navigate by searching for the exhaust chimney across the street from the parking area). Do stay on the trails though, and resist any urges to travel cross county: there's quite a bit of debris in this grassland. After a few feet, a trail heads left. Stay to the right. After a few more steps, ignore a path to the right, and at 1.44 miles you should arrive at a T junction. Turn right, and then continue straight past a trail heading left. Stay on this wide trail -- you'll pass numerous other options on both sides of the trail. Returning to the trailheadThe trail should usher you to a three-way junction at 1.77 miles (when I was there a big pile of gravel served as a marker). Stay to the left, and at the next junction, at 1.84 miles, veer right (you should notice planted vegetation on the right, and the portable toilet may also be visible). At the next two junctions turn left, and then just before an ugly industrial plant at the park property, turn right. The broad trail descends toward the trailhead, to a junction at 2.11 miles, back at the information signboard and the hike's first junction. Retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Total distance: 2.13 miles
Last hiked: Thursday, July 25, 2002