Redwood Shores, CA, 94065
fantastic marshland nature trails
to hike, bike and walk your dog.
Where else can you see a wild seal sleeping three feet from a dog park… with thousands of migrating birds flying overhead during migration season, adjacent large natural habitats such as the 3000 acre Bair Island Wildlife Refuge, all close to Fortune 500 headquarters such as Oracle, Inc. Many are described below and for specific locations see our Redwood Shores Map.
Notice the levee trail through beautiful marshland in the background.
This beautiful planned community is surrounded by the best, most convenient marshland nature trails of SF Bay. Along its many shores are nice parks, residential neighborhoods, corporate headquarters for hi-tech companies, Sofitel hotel, San Carlos Airport, and Hiller Aviation Museum.
Redwood Shores is a neighborhood located in Redwood City, California, between Highway 101 and the San Francisco Bay. Immediately to the south is Steinberger Slough and the 3000 acre Bair island wildlife refuge. To the north is Bay Slough with Foster City on the other side.
Redwood Shores was built on marshlands, the remainder of which are now protected natural habitats. The entire neighborhood is surrounded by nature trails running along the top of levees making them flat and easy to bike or hike.
For easy access to the nature trails on the southern side of Redwood Shores enter either at Mariner Park or at Shore Dogs Park (see map).
A good place to access trails on the northern side is just behind the Redwood Shores Branch Library. The very tip of the Redwood Shores Peninsula, east of Shore Dogs Park, is fenced off to protect endangered species such as the California Clapper Rail and the salt marsh mouse.
The best way to get from Redwood Shores to Foster City by bicycle or foot is to follow the shoreline Bay Trail along Oracle Parkway, behind Oracle Corporation, and take the Oracle Bridge over to the shoreline trails on the south side of Foster City.
In fact one of the very best sections of the Bay Trail is from San Carlos Airport north via the shorelines of Redwood Shores and Foster City and then past Coyote Point on the way up to San Francisco Airport. (Note: The San Francisco Bay Trail Project eventually plans a 500 mile shoreline trail around the entire Bay. See complete Bay Trail maps.)
This is a very nice off-leash dog park at the end of Radio Road. It is split into two fenced-in areas, one for dogs over 35 lbs and another grassier area for smaller dogs. If you want long walks with your dog (on-leash) there are many miles of nature trails through protected wild life habitats nearby.
The most impressive time to visit Shore Dogs Park is during migrating seasons. Then you can see thousands of birds flapping overhead and thousands more on nearby ponds. Another unusual sight is the wild seal that sometimes sleeps just a few feet outside the fenced dog park. There is even a sign in the dog park saying “do not feed the marine mammals.”
Going around the perimeter of Redwood Shores is a great bike ride or dog walk. Since it is all flat and easy I enjoy doing both simultaneously, riding my bike with our 21 lb Sheltie who loves to run over 3 miles/day. Note: Strict leash laws apply here on these nature trails.
One excellent circuit to take is heading northeast from the school (see Redwood Shores Bay Trail icon in the upper middle of map) and keep circling the perimeter (you can take shortcuts through the lagoons for variety) back to your starting point via Shell Parkway.
If you are a serious bicycle rider you can go around most of Redwood Shores and then continue north via the SF Bay Trail around Foster City and up San Francisco Airport. It is long but all flat.
with a white heron, Redwood Shores, & Oracle in the background
Immediately southeast of Redwood Shores across Steinberger Slough are the three Bair Islands. These are flattish marshy areas similar to the way Redwood Shores was before development. What’s interesting is that they are the largest remaining restorable wetlands in the South San Francisco Bay. And, that they contain over 126 species of birds (e.g., including blue herons, egrets, terns, and the endangered clapper rails) 63 types of fish and 13 types of mammals (e.g., including sea lions, seals, and the endangered salt marsh mouse).
The Bair Island waterways are best accessed by boat; rowing is big here. Private or public docking facilities can be found at Bair Island Aquatic Center, Bair Island Marina, Pete’s Harbor, Port of Redwood City and Stanford University Rowing & Sailing Center (all south of Redwood Shores off Highway 101 using the Whipple exit or the Seaport Blvd exit). Also in the planning stage for this area is passenger ferry boat service between the Port of Redwood City and San Francisco.
Special note: As of April 2013 pedestrian access to Bair Island paths is available for the first time. Take the new pedestrian bridge from Pete’s Harbor entrance (1 Uccelli Blvd & Bair Island Rd) over Bair Island.
In the center of Redwood Shores is a large artificial lagoon. Besides providing nice scenery for parks, homes, and businesses it was also designed to include a short 200-meter course for rowing regattas. Stanford University often races here in the spring (e.g., The Stanford Invitational, The Pac-12 Challenge, and The Big Row vs Cal all in 2014). The Stanford Rowing & Sailing Center, where the crew teams start practice at 4:30 am in the morning, is at Bair Island just south of Redwood Shores.
By the way, if you enjoy rowing competitions two of the biggest rowing regattas in California are held nearby in Foster City every November: The Head of the Lagoon Foster City and The Bair Island Fall Regatta.
Worthy of special note is the unusually nice Redwood Shores public library, a pleasant place to browse and one of the nicest libraries we have ever seen. It has several nature exhibits, a cafe, many computers and other library facilities. Immediately behind the library are more nature trails; see picture below.
Oracle Headquarters Campus, sometimes called “Emerald City,” is a beautiful place to work. The office campus surrounds Oracle Lagoon which is now home of a BMW Oracle Racing’s America’s Cup Class yacht once used during training for the 2007 America’s Cup Race.
During the work week visitors might want to eat at one of the six Oracle Cafes – Cafe 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600; you don’t have to be an employee to eat there. Most of these Cafes have good food at reasonable prices since they are all subsidized by Oracle. We like Oracle Cafe 300 best; it is open from 7 am-6 pm Mon-Fri, and has good breakfasts, a grill station and an outstanding bakery.
Scattered around Redwood Shores are several other nice office parks and corporate headquarters including Electronic Arts. Be careful about going to Redwood Shores during prime commute hours because traffic from all of these office buildings will sometimes creates traffic jams getting on and off of Highway 101.
Also in Redwood Shores is the Sofitel Hotel (located at the end of the lagoon used for college rowing races), Pacific Athletic Club, and a Knob Hill neighborhood shopping center. Bordering Redwood Shores on the south is San Carlos Airport, with its Sky Kitchen Cafe much loved by local private pilots who gather there, and the Hiller Aviation Museum, another interesting educational attraction.