Head to Coyote Hills Regional Park for the Ultimate Sunday Bike Ride
Unless you're a South Bay resident, this jewel of a park might be completely off your radar. Plainly visible across the San Francisco Bay from the Bayshore freeway, it's those hills you see silhouetted behind the San Mateo Bridge when driving south to SFO.
What You'll See
You're in for fabulous views of three bridges – especially if you get up in the hills – and wildlife as well. There are three marshes on the east side of the hills, some with viewing platforms that offer the opportunity to observe the many species of waterfowl that use them as migratory stopovers, as well as resident populations of ducks and swans. The entire west side of the 978 acre park fronts tideland that was once used for salt evaporation ponds. It now comprises the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and here the opportunities to spot raptors hovering above the trail and slopes abound.
How to Get There
Coyote Hills Regional Park lies just west of I-880 between the San Mateo and Dumbarton Bridges. The main entrance is off Paseo Padre Parkway. The access point that offers the most varied riding options is the Alameda Creek Staging Area at Lowery Rd. and Union City Blvd. (the green dot on the map below). After mounting up, head out of the staging area onto Union Blvd. and head south on Union Blvd. and just after the bridge over Alameda Creek, turn right on the freshly paved south side Alameda Creek Trail trail and head west. As the hills get closer, and the view more inviting, turn left onto a short connector that joins the 3.5 mile paved Bay Trail. A full lap will give you a good idea of the lay of the land and provide suggestions as to where to ride next.
Where You Can Ride
The park has both paved and unpaved trails, so all types of bikes are welcome. Those in blue on the map are paved and fairly level. The Red Hill Trail is a fire road that runs along the spine of the hills; it is very steep in places and with a loose, rocky surface so it’s best left to experienced riders. The Apay Trail (shown above) is an attractive option that offers some unique perspectives as is the trail on the north side of the Alameda Creek (below)
What to Bring
There are no concessions in the park, but water and restrooms are available. There is an user fee for those parking via the main entrance. The park opens at 8:00 a.m., and closing times vary by season. Check the East Bay Regional Parks website for more information. A detailed PDF map of the park is available here.