Bounded by Mountain View and East Palo Alto, the 1,940-acre Baylands Preserve is one of the largest tracts of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay. Fifteen miles of multi-use trails provide access to a unique mixture of tidal and fresh water habitats.
Many consider this area to be one of the best bird watching areas on the west coast. The preserve has a substantial resident population of birds as well as being a major migratory stopover on the Pacific Flyway.
Things To Do
Include walking, running or biking on 15 miles of trails; bird watching; wind surfing and boating (non-motorized craft such as canoes, kayaks or small, hand-launched boats and sailboards). The city also offers a variety of nature walks and programs on ecology and natural history. See the Activities and Programs page for more information.
These are a few of the rules to help everyone enjoy this nature preserve:
Dogs must be on leash at all times. More information is on our Dogs page. Report dogs off leash to the ranger station at 650-617-3156.
No collecting of plants or animals.
No feeding wildlife, including the duck pond.
No smoking anywhere within Open Space nature preserves.
King tides are the highest tides of a season, usually in the winter. You can see these high tides in the Baylands. When the water is high, normally reclusive bird species move up out of the plants and can be more easily seen by binoculars or scopes. You might also be lucky enough to see bat rays, harbor seals or other species. And it's just plain interesting to see what the Baylands looks like when the water level is so high. [more]
Value of Volunteering in Open Space The City of Palo Alto contracts with Acterra and Save the Bay as stewardship partners. Based on this analysis by Acterra, the city gets a return of 2.5 times its investment in the contract.
History of Waste and The Baylands The area now known as the Palo Alto Baylands started as a waste disposal site in the early 20th century. Over time we learned how to better treat and dispose of our waste, and even convert some of it into useful energy. The landfills are now closed and being turned into additional parkland. [more]
Recycled Water Information Recycled water is wastewater that has been purified through a high level of treatment. Reducing the amount of treated wastewater discharged into the South Bay decreases the impacts on saltwater marshes. [more]