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Author: Katie Cook

Ridge-to-Ridge on San Bruno Mountain

Located just outside of San Francisco’s city limits, San Bruno Mountain is a well-kept secret. This 9.26 mile trail offers a refreshing and quiet reprieve from the busy urban sprawl that surrounds the mountain. From its summit, hikers are rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the entire Bay Area, and the views continue as you walk the ridgeline from one peak to the next. The park has recently invested in new trail markers that make navigating a breeze. The hike starts at the Old Guadalupe Trailhead and follows a paved fire road for less than a quarter-mile before...

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Palo Alto Baylands Byxbee Park Hills Walk

The Palo Alto Baylands offers world-class bird watching from trails that snake through over 1900 acres of protected salt marshes and mud flats. This short 2.7-mile trail follows the marshy shoreline before winding through Palo Alto Baylands Byxbee Park Hills where walkers are treated to sweeping views of the bay. If you prefer a longer walk, check out the 7-mile Adobe Creek Trail. This short walk offers visitors an easy, year-round escape into nature. When I visited one November afternoon, the sun had just moved behind the Byxbee Hills and the animals in the marsh seemed to jump into...

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Palo Alto Baylands Adobe Creek Loop

With over 1900 acres of protected bayside marshland, The Baylands in Palo Alto is a destination for migrating birds and birdwatchers of all ages. This flat, 7-mile path begins at the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center and loops around the Palo Alto Baylands salt marshes and mud flats. If you want a shorter stroll, opt for the 2.7-mile Byxbee Hills and Mayfield Slough walk. The bird watching in the Palo Alto Baylands is stunning! The scenery in The Baylands tidal marsh changes with the tides, and the various sloughs and flood control basins create separate zones for a...

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Bair Island

If you’ve ever doubted the magical, restorative powers of nature, you owe Bair Island a visit. The majority of Bair Island runs along Highway 101, but the bird watching is so spectacular that the freeway traffic fades into the background. The easy, flat path begins at the access bridge near the Bair Island Marina. Take the bridge across the waterway and head to the right to a large raised platform viewing area. The Peninsula Open Space Trust and Save the Bay have been working hard to improve and preserve this fragile ecosystem. The tidal marsh zone is part of...

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Bear Valley Sky and Coast Loop

One of the most popular trails in all of Point Reyes is the easy, but crowded, out-and-back 8.2-mile Bear Valley Trail that leads from the Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitors Center to Arch Rock. Instead of following the crowds, take the trail less traveled and earn your seaside picnic lunch with this 12.5-mile loop. This loop from the Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitors Center adds a couple miles and a bit of elevation to the standard Bear Valley out-and-back hike, but it also adds views. BIG TIME VIEWS! Starting at the Bear Valley trailhead, take the Mount Wittenberg trail...

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