San Francisco, CA: Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, Tidelands Trail Loop - Backpacker

San Francisco, CA: Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, Tidelands Trail Loop

Spy on migratory waterfowl while touring salt marshes, vernal pools, and bay tributaries on this 1.6-miler near Oakland and San Francisco.
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A short drive from the bay, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge hosts more than 280 bird species during migrations each spring and fall. The protected wildlife resides along the park's salt marshes, ponds, and tidelands. Dotting the drier inland areas of the refuge, mudflats and vernal pools provide the backdrop for this short 1.6-mile habitat stroll. Follow the popular Tidelands Trail along the Newark Slough, and then turn up the Harrier Spur Trail to Refuge Hill (where views of the bay and LaRivere Marsh await).
-Mapped by David Miller, Bay Area Outdoors

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 2.5



Location: 37.5319824, -122.0729675

Trailhead. From the parking lot, head northwest to the park information sign and follow the well-marked trail to the right.


Location: 37.5322723, -122.0735855

Turn right @ Y-junction. Continue downhill looking over the Newark Slough and the bay. Look for flocks of water birds dancing in the air. Left takes you to the Visitor Center


Location: 37.5317268, -122.0742569

Turn right @ 3-way junction. The Tidelands Trail splits here; stay right and head towards the water.


Location: 37.5320969, -122.0744553

Enter the wooden walkway above the wetlands and cross the bridge over Newark Slough.


Location: 37.5314865, -122.0758972

Turn left @ 3-way intersection onto Tidelands - Newark Slough Trail. Look for waterfowl perched on the abandoned pylons in the shallow salt ponds of the bay.


Location: 37.5282974, -122.0713501

Turn left @ Y-junction. Cross a second bridge back over the Newark Slough.


Location: 37.528614, -122.0698318

Turn right @ Y-junction. Here, the Tidelands Trail merges with the Harrier Spur Trail which circles around Refuge Hill.


Location: 37.527916, -122.0674286

Take a short spur on a trail through the marshes and look for more wildlife treasures: Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons are common sights here.


Location: 37.5284882, -122.0682602

Turn left @ the 3-way intersection and head up the hill to 360-degree views of the surrounding wildlife refuge.


Location: 37.5319353, -122.075057

© Dave Miller

Slough Reflection

Location: 37.5315865, -122.07569

© Dave Miller


Location: 37.5307697, -122.0756257

© Dave Miller

Flock of Sea birds

Location: 37.5295445, -122.074585

Hundreds of sea birds cascade in flux along the water. © Dave Miller

Sea Birds

Location: 37.5293488, -122.073909

© Dave Miller

Century Plants

Location: 37.5278428, -122.0684266

Century plants tower above the trail. © Dave Miller


Location: 37.5277577, -122.0670533

© Dave Miller

Snowy Egret

Location: 37.5287107, -122.0688772

© Dave Miller

Newark Slough

Location: 37.5289064, -122.0704758

© Dave Miller

Taking Off

Location: 37.5298423, -122.0703685

© Dave Miller

Egret on the Bridge

Location: 37.5319268, -122.0741987

© Dave Miller

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