Walking at Pt Isabel and more Bay Trail

We went off to visit UC Berkeley Art Museum and thought we’d take a walk first. Having lived in Richmond, we’d choose one of our early places  to walk together.

Of course, we had different pictures in our heads. Where that was that park? What exit off Hwy 580? We turned off at Bayview Ave. and wound up at one of those former industrial areas converted to trail and park area along San Francisco Bay. It was less charming than some of those access points off Hwy 37 in the North Bay.

Bayview Entrance

But we walked a little way and before us were wetlands and trail and bay and a view to San Francisco. The paved trail with a few twists and turns goes to Miller-Knox Regional Park. That park’s name, we could remember and is also one of our first walking spots. Here’s a link to Pt Richmond walk.

Wetlands Pt Isabel Regional Shoreline

When we got to the main trail, we went left towards Pt. Isabel. The area has gone through many transitions. Today, it is hard to imagine that the Ohlone lived here for thousands of years in a tule environment with bear and elk. The bay wetlands are being restored, but discerning what is natural on the shore is tricky with jetties and dumped jumbles of concrete.

Mudflat Mallards

Walking on, we hoped the fog would lift for a better view of San Francisco. Though the cyclists were most courteous, we detoured from the paved path. It’s just when a dirt and grass path reveals itself, we will take it.

Mudflat Mallards

In the shallow waters before us, this avocet in breeding color searched for food. Nearby some stilts and sandpipers stabbed the mud for lunch. A sign indicated curlews and dowitchers also hang out here. They never took a second to admire the vastness of the bay nor the cities, bridges and mountains surrounding them. It’s a great vista. The day’s lingering fog perplexed the camera’s ability to show that here.

Avocet in San Francisco Bay

As we neared the main part of Pt Isabel, we noticed more and more dogs. How ignorant we were. To separate bikes from acres of off-leash doggie heaven, the paved path or official Bay Trail is fenced off from the park. The Pt Isabel Dog Owners were having an event, but I think it must often be full of people and dogs.

PIDO table at Pt Isabel

Dogs and people packed the trails. A sense of party prevailed. Dogs raced over the grassy hill. Dogs sniffed and played with each other. Dogs swam in the estuary. People chatted. Owners tossed balls for the dogs to retrieve. We were a bit overwhelmed, but everyone, dogs included, were well-socialized and civil. There are only a few rules at Pt Isabel and it seems to work well. It’s the place to be.

Dogs and Pt Isabel

Around the bend is a place called MudPuppy’s where dogs can be groomed and owners can have a snack at the Sit and Stay Café. (There’s also one in San Francisco.) This side of the park is the ‘real’ entrance, off Central Avenue to Isabel St. past the Costco. Parking, bathrooms and cafe are here.  For more information on the area, click Pt Isabel Regional Shoreline.

Wetlands by Bay Trail

The Bay Trail from Pt. Isabel north goes to Marina Bay in about 2 miles and another 2 miles to Miller-Knox Park. You can also get to Brickyard Cove. South the Bay Trail goes around the Albany Mudflats. Parts of the Bay Trail go to Hayward, but there are still missing pieces. More later. Visit Bay Trail site for all the maps.

Dogs obviously okay in Park. On leash on Bay Trail.

Wheelchair accessible.

So, the park I meant to go to is Pt. Pinole. Maybe next trip to the East Bay.

See you on the trail!

In the meantime, tell me about your visit to Pt Isabel or when you plan to go next.

Lynn Millar

Photos by Mike Millar

Dirt Trail near Pt Isabel looking north

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