The San Francisco Bay Trail at San Leandro Bay is a surprisingly scenic short hike in Oakland, California. San Leandro Bay itself is a small bay between Alameda Island, Bayfarm Island, and Oakland. There are several creeks draining into the bay here, including Lion Creek and San Leandro Creek. This creates a rich but delicate ecosystem. The mudflats are important feeding grounds for shore birds, and at low tide you will see lots of them way out in the distance. At high tide, the shore birds will be huddled closer to the shore, where you can see them better, but please don’t disturb them or let your dog chase them.
One notable feature of this hike is Arrowhead Marsh. You can see clearly on the map below, it juts out into the bay and looks a bit like an arrowhead. This marsh is covered in a non-native cordgrass that chokes the marsh and prevents shore birds from feeding. Healthy intertidal wetlands are important breeding and feeding grounds for birds, amphibians, fish, insects, and even mamals. When I visited, there was a boardwalk for viewing the marsh, but it was closed.
This is a flat, paved trail suitable for walking or biking.
If you are driving, this portion of the trail is just off I-880 in Oakland. There are parking areas at the North and South ends of the trail. (See the map above.) You can get there easily on BART, although the walk around the Colosseum is not the most fun. Just walk North from the Colosseum BART station on San Leandro St until you get to 66th Ave. Turn right on 66th, which will take you across the freeway and straight to the Bay Trail.
Coots and ducks (mallards, surf scoters, buffleheads,) sandpipers, snowy egrets, Canada geese, ring-billed gulls, California gulls. (And much more!)