I gave this trail a lukewarm review back in 2008, so I was surprised when we spent a morning there last week at how much there was to enjoy.
Just as I remembered, there were plenty of pooches and not much else at the dog park just off Central Avenue, but you can avoid the off-leash ones by starting at Rydin Street and staying on the paved bicycle path, which is protected by a fence, and runs west across Stege Marsh. Not very interesting at first glance, and not secluded, with Highway 580 only a few hundred feet away. Lots of hikers, joggers and bicyclists, but the trail is wide enough for comfortable passing. And there turns out to be a lot to see.
On a clear day, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tamalpais, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco, Angel Island and the hills of Albany, El Cerrito and Berkeley. In the first mile or so, passing Stege Marsh and Meeker Slough, you may spot any number of shorebirds. Once we watched half a dozen Avocets chase a cat away from their nests on the mud flats. The slender pigeon sized birds, with their long fine beaks and legs, don't look as if they'd have a chance against a cat, but when they walked calmly towards it, it retreated, pretending that it had remembered an important prior engagement.
After that, several loops are possible among the waterfront condominiums near the Richmond Marina. This area is less natural, but if you take the inland route, along Meeker Tidal Creek ducks and herons are frequent. There are three landscaped city parks near the Marina, and the Rosie the Riveter Memorial is here. A brochure available for pickup or at http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=5553 enumerates historical attractions connected with the WWII Home Front; there is a Visitor Center (510-232-5050) but its hours are very limited.
Details: There’s bus service to Marina Bay and to Point Isabel, so a one-way walk is possible. Accessible toilets and water are available at both ends and along the way; there are frequent benches. Except for low rises in the dog park, the trails here are paved and dead flat. Parking may be difficult at Point Isabel on nice weekends. There’s an outdoor café by the dog park which might be a pleasant place to stop, especially if you like dogs.