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 if a source of fresh water to fill and maintain it can be found, the plan is to create a “Dumbarton Quarry Lake” Regional Park.
The trail 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 6.3 miles; longer hikes are possible. The trails have little shade, so with the Bay breeze you need a sweater and a hat.
Getting there 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.
Hike originally published in the October 2009 issue of Bay Nature magazine