This very accessible wetland restoration project offers great bird and wildlife watching. You can take a 4+ mile hike on the levee maintenance road (closed to cars) or, in just a few hundred feet, see lots of geese, white pelicans, egrets, ducks and other waterbirds. Otters are reported, but have so far eluded me. My last visit was on a warm June Saturday, when we saw only four people during a walk around the first pond. We speculated that potential visitors were scared off by the lack of shade here, but there was a pleasant breeze off the Bay, and had we had time to linger, a few of the benches are shaded by the few small trees planted by the trail.
Parking is right by the treatment plant, and the sulphur smell there might put you off, but it disappears when you cross a concrete bridge to the first pond. Picnic tables and drinking water for humans and dogs are near the information signboard, but no map was posted there when I visited. The trail is hard-packed well-graded gravel fine for wet weather. You can just circle the first, very appealing, pond (which has the best birdwatching and benches on its far side) or continue around the second and third, less appealing ones, for a 2 mile figure 8. If that’s not enough, the main trail keeps on going, along the north edge of a broad marsh. Eventually it becomes hard-packed dirt with irrigated fields on the left; then it turns to a rough footpath that I haven’t tried. A bicyclist we met there said he had come from Hamilton Airforce Base.
Details: Leashed dogs and bikes are permitted. The small parking lot can be full on weekends; there’s one van-accessible disabled space. A fully accessible restroom (open only 7am-2:30 pm.) is in the small building with a laboratory and classroom at the trailhead.