Bay Trail: Coyote Point to San Mateo Bridge
Bay Trail: Coyote Point Recreation Area to San Mateo Bridge
Trailhead: Entry points include the parking lot behind the yacht club at Coyote Point Recreation Area, and at Ryder, Seal Point, and Bayside/Joinville parks.
Length: Over 4 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: GentleContinuous cross-slopes may be tiresome for some manual wheelchair riders.
Terrain: HardAt Seal Point Park the side trail to lookout points are on firm terrain
Obstacles: At the entry to the Bay Trail from the parking lot behind the yacht club, an exceptionally large divot makes passage difficult.
DescriptionHeading south along the Bay Trail from Coyote Point Recreation Area, you will see all sorts of sights, from jets gliding in over the Bay to land at San Francisco International Airport, to birds and sea lions diving for prey, to scores of sailboats and windsurfers skimming the waves. The Bay is just to your left nearly all the way, and to your right, or right beneath you, is one little park after another. A half-mile out from Coyote Point you will see a very steep path running inland to small Harbor View Park, which people use mainly for baseball games and picnics. A half-mile farther is Ryder Park, with an accessible playground, group picnic area, outdoor classrooms, and restored wetlands. A large, tiered, concrete “water art” piece, the Shell Mound Gurgle, demonstrates how tidal action works.
Just past the park, take the pedestrian bridge over San Mateo Creek and follow the levee trail as it enters 50-acre Seal Point Park, built on a former dump. Here you will find a dog park, restrooms, paved and dirt trails, a paved windsurfing launch (with a level platform that’s accessible at low tide), and an outdoor classroom facing the wetland on the park’s south side. From Seal Point Park, the trail runs along J. Hart Clinton Drive for approximately .5 miles to Mariners Point Golf Center. Just past Seal Point Park you come to Marina Lagoon. For a side trip to Bayside/Joinville Park, leave the Bay Trail at the parking lot at the south end of the pedestrian bridge over Marina Lagoon. Go through the lot to the intersection of J. Hart Clinton Drive and Anchor Road. Follow Anchor Road inland 10 feet, turn right at the sign for the park, and continue to another bridge that leads to the park’s back entrance.
Returning to the Bay Trail from Bayside/Joinville Park, cross Marina Lagoon on the pedestrian bridge. Where Clinton Drive turns into East Third Avenue, the trail turns slightly inland alongside Bay Marshes Open Space, also known as Seal Marsh, with mudflats, rocks, and an open field on the Bay side. An accessible pier suspends you over the wetlands for a closer look at the wildlife. The trail then turns sharply toward the Bay and travels behind Mariners Point Golf Links, where tall net fences protect passersby from stray golf balls. Next is a series of small, inaccessible sandy beaches.
Follow the trail another .5 miles along East Third Avenue, past a municipal maintenance yard and an office complex and under the San Mateo Bridge. Fishermen wait patiently on the windy shoreline, hoping to make a catch. Traveling beneath the bridge is an unusual experience; amid the whir of auto and truck traffic, you can hear it vibrate and creak. Nearby you can see a section of the old bridge that was turned into the 4,000-foot San Mateo County Fishing Pier, closed indefinitely as of 2006.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking: YesAt Ryder, Seal Point, and Bayside/Joinville parks. A trailside lot is on East Third Ave. at Anchor Rd., and public shoreline spaces are in the office complex at the end of East Third Ave. See Coyote Point for parking at the trail's northern end.
Accessible Restroom: YesRyder Park, Bayside/Joinville Park, and Seal Point Park
Features icon key
- particularly good for families
Reviewed by Ashley Olson, September 3, 2013
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