Baylands Nature Preserve

Due to inclement weather and hazards, our open space preserves may close or partially restrict access without notification. Byxbee Park is also experiencing temporary trail closures.

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.

View from the shore of the wetlands with an old wooden dock in the foreground, multiple sea birds floating on the water and a peninsula with marsh grasses in the distance


Baylands Nature Preserve features a duck pond, Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center, a sailing station, Harriet Mundy Marsh, Emily Renzel Wetlands, Byxbee Park Hills (Art Park), Airport, Municipal Golf Course, Baylands Athletic Center, parking areas, restrooms.

Preserve Rules

  • Dogs must be on leash at all times (report dogs off leash to Palo Alto Communications at (650) 329-2413).
  • No collecting of plants or animals.
  • Discharge of firearms is not permitted. P.A.M.C. 22.04.260 Weapons
  • Waterfowl hunting is not permitted.  P.A.M.C. 22.04.270(b) Fauna
  • Groups and Special Events of 25 or more must have a permit. 
  • Park Hours - Open every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. until a specific time based on sunset.


Palo Alto purchased 40 acres of marshland in 1921.  Nine years later a plan was submitted to add and reclaim land and to develop the baylands into a multipurpose recreation area with a saltwater swimming pool (now the Duck Pond), a municipal airport, a yacht harbor and clubhouse, a basin for seaplanes, a game reserve, and areas for playgrounds, picnic grounds, and a golf course. In the 1960s the plan changed when a citizens' committee recommended that the Baylands become park land.  This became a reality in 1968.  Since then, the Nature Interpretative Center, the Mundy Marsh, the Renzel Wetlands, and Byxbee Park Hills have been added to the Preserve.  The Yacht Harbor closed in 1986, and the harbor master’s cottage was converted into a ranger station.

Although the park is affectionately called The Baylands, its official name is John Fletcher Byxbee Recreation Area.  Byxbee was a member of Palo Alto High’s first graduating class and earned a degree in Civil Engineering in 1902 from Stanford.  In 1906 he became Palo Alto’s city engineer, a position he held until 1941. His vision and his guidance led to the concept and the purchase of  bay land for recreational use.  The latest addition to the Baylands Nature Preserve, Byxbee Park Hills (Art Park), bears this visionary's name. 




2775 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303  View Map

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