Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bayfront Park - Menlo Park

Tucked away in an industrial section of Menlo Park where Marsh Rd and Bayfront Expressway converge is Bayfront Park. It is a city park built on a former landfill with an easy wide gravel road surrounding the park and a spiderweb network of paths and trails among the hills on the interior. I was looking for a new place to hike close to home and I recalled passing this park many times when heading towards the Dumbarton Bridge from Marsh Rd. I had a little time off during the week so I decided to head across the bay and check it out.

The entrance to the park is right off Hwy 101 on the Marsh Rd. exit. Instead of turning R on Bayfront Express way, go straight into the park. There are a couple of parking lots and some parking on the street. There is a restroom at the parking lot, but no water, so be prepared.

There were no trail maps available but I did know that there was a main trail that circled the park (Thanks Google Maps!).

With camera in hand, (well actually monopod in hand attached to my 50-500mm zoom lens, attached to my camera) I headed out onto the trail. Immediately to the right was a pond filled with a various waterfow, but mostly ducks (Canvas back and Northern Shovelers). I'm not sure what I said or did, but most of them took off when I got near. (pictured left) It was great!

I continued on the loop trail enjoying the easy stroll and keeping my eyes open for what the park had to offer. The salt marsh to the South provided a colorful moon-like landscape while the grassy hills of the park provide a nice balance.

The park is visited by over 180 different species of birds. and in my short time there I ran into a number of different ones : ducks, egrets, sanderlings, sparrows, etc. After traversing about 1.5 miles into loop trail, I headed into the interior of the park and gained a little elevation. Once inside, a myriad of trail options abound. Narrow hiking trails, bike paths and a gravel road provide many possible paths. I meandered for a while and just explored and headed in the general direction of the trail head.

While Bayfront Park may not be one of the most picturesque of the Bay Area Parks, it does provide a nice variety of trails and hiking options. I understand the park can get pretty crowded on the weekends so get there early for the best parking.

You can check out the trail I mapped on my TrimbleOutdoors account. It should be on the BACKPACKER web site soon. Comments and questions are welcomed and encouraged.

Sanderling among salt deposits

Wide trail that loops the park

Grassy fields on the interior of the park

Salt ponds

Northern Shoveler

Salt Marsh and SF Bay as seen from the interior of the park.

Colorful Salt Marsh


Unknown said...

This is great...thanks for sharing the details and pictures. I just moved to this area a mile away from the park. I will definitely look forward to doing some mountain biking and hiking with my dog.

Thank you!

Dave Miller said...

Welcome to the Bay Area! I'm glad I could be of service.

You will find a lot of places for hiking and biking in the area. Enjoy!

Unknown said...

These are some amazing images. thanks for the post. You should get in touch with the bizymoms Menlo-park community to feature these on their page. It’s free and the moms will love them

Dave Miller said...

Thanks for your comments and your suggestion about bizymoms.