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Don Edwards to Coyote Hills

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by Transit & Trails


Wildlife Sightings

by iNaturalist


Length: 5.74 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Halfday
Ann Sieck
Created by Ann Sieck

Ann Sieck wants to make sure people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, can find parks and trails they can enjoy.

Park: 37.5315746 -122.0733268 park Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge - Fremont

Good for:
  • Beaches/Shore
  • Bikes
  • Birding
  • Disabled Access
  • Dogs
  • Views
  • Wildflowers
  • Bay and Estuary
  • Grasslands
  • Marine
  • Bike Friendly


Hike by Ann Sieck, originally published in the October 2009 issue of Bay Nature magazine

From Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge headquarters, Apay Way Trail climbs to cross Highway 84 atop the toll plaza and immediately overlooks the 300-foot-deep Dumbarton rock quarry, skirting its crumbling slopes and dark chert cliffs banded rust, yellow, and silver. Green water glimmers far below. The digging has ended here, and for awhile there was a plan to fill it with water and create a "Dumbarton Quarry Lake" Regional Park. Don’t know what’s become of that idea.


The only obstacles to taking a wheelchair as far as the quarry are a modest climb to the overpass, and a 3-inch concrete lip at its north end. But thereafter Apay Way becomes steep and, where it's cut into the rocky hillside, a pretty rough ride. It follows the Bay's edge north into Coyote Hills Regional Park, alongside the refuge's levee-sectioned salt ponds. At high tide we passed one great egret after another, hunting separately, then watched a flock of paddling white pelicans scatter over the water and converge to corner fish against the shore. Hopeful terns hovered and dove; swallows darted after smaller prey.

After 1.4 miles, Apay Way reaches Bayview Trail, a 3.5-mile loop past Coyote Hills' lush marshlands, where hundreds more pelicans had gathered and the visitor center where a docent told us of recent sightings of a golden eagle and a navigationally challenged (or zoo-escaped?) flamingo.

This walk was about 6 miles; longer hikes are possible. The trails have little shade, so with the Bay breeze you sometimes need a sweater and a hat.

Details: To reach the Don Edwards trailhead, exit Highway 84 at Thornton Avenue and turn left on Marshlands Road. No charge to park; dogs and bikes permitted.


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