Many Ways to Explore the Bay

Many Ways to Explore the Bay

This week we encourage everyone to explore the Bay in a new way. Whether you hit the trail on your bike, jump in a kayak, or paint a picture of nature outside your door – try something different and see what you discover.

Share a photo of your adventure on Instagram, tag us @saveSFbay, and use #BayDayTrailChallenge #SFBayDay, by Thursday, October 22 at 11:59 p.m. for the chance to win some great prizes. For our 21 and over Bay Day Trail Challengers, we have a fun swag bag from our friends at Sierra Nevada. We also have a $100 gift card from the wonderful people at REI so you can get the gear you need for your next outdoor adventure.

There are so many fun and free activities you can do, here are a few of our favourites.

Walking and Running

With over 500 miles of trail around the Bay, there are many trails for walking and running! Bring your dog and enjoy a walk along the Bay. Check out the Bay Trail Map to find your next adventure!

Cycling

All the trails along the San Francisco Bay Trail are multi-use, keep your eye out for pedestrians and other cyclists! Check out some popular cycling routes along the Bay Trail. Teach your kids how to ride a bike, enjoy a bike ride with friends and family, or enjoy some time to yourself along the beautiful Bay.

Kayaking

Did you know there is a Water Trail in the San Francisco Bay? This trail has no beginning or end and is instead a network of launching/landing sites. Grab your canoe, dragon boat, kayak, kiteboard, rowboat, or paddleboard! Learn more about the SF Bay Water Trail here.

Picnicking

Pack a lunch, grab some friends and family and adventure to one of these beautiful areas for a picnic along the Bay Trail! Be sure to pick up all of your trash-and even better, try to pack a zero waste lunch!

Birding

Grab your binoculars, cameras and local birding guide to quietly observe the diverse bird populations around the Bay! You can go birding anywhere along the Bay Trail, but here are some of the more popular spots.

Exploring Art

Along the Bay Trail, you may find some public art installations. See if you can find some of the art installations along the trail. Get inspired by these artists and your surroundings and draw or paint what you see!

Supporting Local Businesses

While you’re out exploring, you can also use the opportunity to support local businesses. This year, Bay Day is partnering with Sierra Nevada to highlight a few spots running Sierra Nevada specials you can visit after hitting the trails.

Learn More While You Explore

Learn More While You Explore

Have you ever wondered about the birds you see along the shoreline? Do you want to learn about the history of the Bay Trail? Are you curious about how scientists use the bouys in San Francisco Bay? From free online resources, to virtual events, to Citizen Science projects – below are eight fun ways to learn more as you explore.

Share your Adventure – Win More Prizes

This week we are encouraging everyone learn something new about the Bay – from home or from the trail. Share a photo of your adventure on Instagram, tag us @saveSFbay, and use #SFBayDay #BayDayTrailChallenge, by Thursday, October 15 at 11:59 p.m. for the chance to win a $50 gift certificate from our friends at Decathlon Emeryville.


Explore Free Online Resources

Outdoor Learning Online (OLO)

OLO is our brand new, free, online outdoor education portal that just launched in September! Take a look through our three themes: Ecology & Biodiversity, Climate Change & Human Impact and Watershed Science. The lessons within these themes all align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and California Common Core.

Audio Tours of the San Francisco Bay Trail

In partnership with the San Francisco Bay Trail, the State Coastal Conservancy, and TV host Doug McConnell, an audio tour was created for specific trails along the San Francisco Bay Trail. Learn more about the trail you are on, its history and more!

Living on the Edge: A Tour of Bay Habitats

Check out these news signs in the Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge in San Jose, which is along the SF Bay Trail! Learn about the history and ecology of this Wildlife Refuge while biking, walking or running along the Bay Trail! Use the camera on your phone to scan the barcode on the signs, a link will pop up and take you to interesting educational lessons.


Attend Virtual Events

Ocean Buoy Live Exploration: Cleaning and Servicing a CO2 Buoy

Thursday, October 15|Exploratorium
Join the Exploratorium’s virtual event on Thursday October 15 from 11 – 12 p.m. PST. The Exploratorium will lift their “one-ton, 20-foot-tall carbon dioxide (CO2) buoy out of the water and explore its scientific instruments and the organisms that have colonized the buoy bottom.”

Drawing Swimming Fish and Slithering Snakes

Thursday, October 15 | John Muir Law’s
Join John Muir Law’s nature drawing zoom class on Thursday October 15 from 12 – 1 p.m. PST. “This is going to be an interesting class. We will explore how to draw undulating tube shaped critters. Think of snakes, fish, millipedes and more. There are some interesting and surprising changes in the body shape as the form bends.”


Participate in local Citizen Science Projects

iNaturalist App

Upload your observations of plants and animals and participate in citizen science! iNaturalist was developed by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. Learn more about this app and other you can use on the Bay Trail here.

eBird by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Join eBird to share your bird observations while on the SF Bay Trail! Document your observation, share and help conservation efforts. Share your checklist with the San Francisco Bird Observatory.

FrogWatch with CuriOdyssey

The Bay Area FrogWatch Chapter is helping to monitor frog and toad populations in the Bay Area. There are six local species: the Pacific tree frog, the red-legged frog, foothill yellow-legged frog, the western toad, the western spadefoot toad, and the bullfrog.

Our Favorite Plants & Animals of the Bay

Our Favorite Plants & Animals of the Bay

Healing herbs, North America’s smallest butterfly, and a feathered friend with an arch-nemesis – these are a few of our Habitat Restoration Team’s favorite species that you can find along the Bay shoreline. Before you set off on the #BayDayTrailChallenge learn all about the plants and animals that call our region home.

This week we encourage everyone to get out and find your favorite Bay plants and animals. Share your photo on Instagram, tag us @saveSFbay, and use #SFBayDay #BayDayTrailChallenge, by Thursday at 11:59 p.m. for the chance to win some fun swag boxes from our friends at AllTrails.


Plants

Image by: Franco Folini

My favorite is Fleshy Jaumea, or Jaumea carnosa. This low-growing salt marsh plant is halophytic and has succulent leaves. It’s a vibrant green color that is easy to spot from some distance, and it has adorable little yellow flowers. Super cute and super squishy!

-Rachelle Cardona, Restoration Program Manager 


We grow Common Yarrow in our plant nurseries!

The Common Yarrow can be found in tidal marsh habitats around the San Francisco Bay, as well as almost every other ecosystem in California! Its feathery green leaves and pompom-like white flowers always remind me I’m home when I see it. Although it looks quite different, yarrow is in the sunflower family! Its scientific name, Achillea millefolium, describes some of its properties quite well. The species name, millefolium describes the plant’s dense flower heads made up of “millions” of tiny, tiny flowers. The genus name, Achillea, refers to yarrow’s medicinal powers. Legend has it that when the Greek warrior Achilles was born, his mother dipped him in a bath of yarrow to protect him from harm. Alas, she held him by his heel, making this the one part of his body left vulnerable! Yarrow has a long history of being used for medicine all around the world. It is most famously used to stop bleeding wounds, and is also used to keep away flies and mosquitos.

-Rebecca Wynd, Native Plant Nursery Manager 


My favorite marsh plant is Alkali Heliotrope. It’s a low growing, succulent wild flower with curled, “scorpion tailed” flower heads characteristic of the Borage family. It’s found across the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, even Hawaii! However, it is considered an aggressive agricultural weed in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is highly salt tolerant and can be found in beaches, marshes and alkali flats. It’s a favorite with pollinators; the white flowers have central yellow spots that turn purple when pollinated to cue insects to flowers that have yet to be pollinated.

-Kenneth Rangel, Restoration Operations Manager 


Animals 

Image by: Katja Schulz

Spittle Bug! When in their nymph stage these lil rascals suck the water out of plants and use it to encase themselves in a bubble cocoon protecting them from the heat and from hungry predators. Once they’ve matured they can do some pretty incredible things. An adult froghopper accelerates at 4,000 m/s2 when it jumps – this means that it experiences 400 Gs of acceleration. To put that into perspective, if you’ve ever ridden on the Gravitron at a carnival, that tops out at 5.3 Gs. 

-Charlie Onorati, Restoration Education Program Coordinator


My favorite marsh animal is the Northern Harrier, a small raptor that’s native to a large portion of North America and often seen at our restoration sites. They fly steadily along the ground, hunting for prey in the tidal marsh. We hope that they don’t happen to catch the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse or snowy plover chicks. Both male and female harriers have a white patch on their rump, making them easy to identify for even the most amateur birder. 

-Jessie Olson, Associate Director of Native Plant Nurseries 


My favorite marsh organism is the Marsh Wren. This small, chirpy, and brown bird is more likely to be heard than seen. It’ll be the first animal to greet you on the shoreline and continue to heckle you throughout its territory. Male marsh wren’s can learn up to 210 different song types. When not busy singing, marsh wrens can be found building their nests in between cattails, tall sedges, or upright wetland plants. But don’t get caught between a marsh wren and a red-winged black bird, those two are known to be archnemeses!

-Denise Amador, Restoration Project Specialist 


Image by: Renee Grayson

One of my favorites is the Western Pygmy Blue butterfly, which as it’s name suggests is one of the smallest butterflies in the world, and is THE smallest butterfly in North America! They are often found in alkaline areas such as deserts and marshes. They lay their eggs exclusively on plants in the family Chenopodiaceae, which includes favorites such as pickleweed. They are one of the few butterfly species to benefit from the introduction of non-native species such as Russian thistle, as they are also members of the Chenopodiaceae family.

-Kenneth Rangel, Restoration Operations Manager

Apps to Use on the San Francisco Bay Trail

Apps to Use on the San Francisco Bay Trail

Before you head off to the San Francisco Bay Trail for the #BayDayTrailChallenge check out these apps! From trail maps to citizen science to audio tours to fitness and trash tracking, there are apps for everyone to enjoy. Know of an app that would be great for the SF Bay Trail? Comment below! We would love to hear what apps you are using for #SFBayDay. 

AllTrails

Check out the AllTrails app! It is one of the most popular hiking apps available. With both a free version and paid membership option, there are over 100,000 trails world wide to choose from. You can read reviews, see photos from other hikers, and check out  the terrain for your next hike. Download the app to explore. Find a San Francisco Bay Trail on the app here!

Explore iPhone

Source: AllTrails

Seek by iNaturalist

Seek by iNaturalist was created by California Academy of Science in San Francisco. This cool, kid-friendly app allows you to record your observations, learn about nature and become a citizen scientist! 

Source: iNaturalist 

Vizzit Places

In partnership with the San Francisco Bay Trail, the State Coastal Conservancy, and TV host Doug McConnell, an audio tour was created for specific trails along the San Francisco Bay Trail. Learn more about the trail you are on, its history and more! 

Source: Vizzit App on Google Play

Google Fit 

Track your fitness while on the San Francisco Bay Trail by using the Google Fit app. Google collaborated with the American Heart Association to create this fitness app. Easily monitor your fitness progress from your phone. 

Source: Google Fit

CleanSwell 

Created by the Ocean Conservancy, CleanSwell is an app that allows you to easily record and track the trash you have picked up along the shoreline. Trash from around the world is being recorded and researchers are able to better understand the types of trash that are ending up close to our shorelines. 

Source: Clean Swell on Google Play

Science Journal

The Science Journal, created by Google and activities developed by the Exploratorium, is a great tool for exploration! Record and measure sound, speed, light and more! Analyze your data in graphs, and take notes right within the app. What will you record along the San Francisco Bay Trail?

Science App Screenshot

Source: Exploratorium 

Where is the San Francisco Bay Trail?

Where is the San Francisco Bay Trail?

Image: Horii at the Alviso Marina County Park in San Jose along the San Francisco Bay Trail

When completed, the San Francisco Bay Trail will be 500 miles long and will connect 47 Bay Area cities and all 9 counties. This October, join us for the #BayDayTrailChallenge and discover a Bay Trail near you! Pledge to walk, bike, paddle, run, 25-miles of the Bay Trail and win prizes. Don’t forget to submit your miles at the end of October!

Many people use the San Francisco Bay Trail for recreation and to commute to work. There are many ways to use the trail: cycling, running, walking, birdwatching, picnicking, kayaking, fishing and more! Check out this Navigational Map to find a trail near you.

Learn more about the Bay Trail with these fun facts:

Don’t forget to register for the Bay Day Trail Challenge!
Bay Day starts on October 1st!

What is the San Francisco Bay Trail?

What is the San Francisco Bay Trail?

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a network of 500 miles of walking and cycling paths that connect the 9 Bay Area counties, 47 cities and 7 major bridges. The newest section of the trail at Ravenswood is 0.6miles long and completes an continuous 80-mile stretch of the Bay Trail.

The San Francisco Bay Trail started in 1989 and today just over 350 of the 500 miles (70%) are open for public use. These trails, some paved and others a natural surface, connect counties, cities, parks, open spaces, schools, transit, and businesses. It also links people to many recreational activities such as cycling, running, walking, kayaking, fishing, nature education & restoration, picnicking, birdwatching, art, and more!

How does a 500-mile regional trail get built? Building the Bay Trail involves the whole community, from political leaders to private citizens, everyone has a voice. The Bay Trail is often the conduit for public access to the shoreline and with the support of the State Coastal Conservancy, has been able to offer grants to assist in the completion of the trail. You can learn more here.

You can explore the Bay Trail this October, by taking the Bay Day Trail Challenge and pledging to walk, run, bike, wheel, or paddle 25-miles along the Bay Trail OR by choosing five adventures to connect and engage with the Bay, your way. Complete the challenge and you’ll be entered to win our grand prize – a kayak. Explore the Bay Trail Navigational Map to find a trail near you!

Did you know…

  • The Bay Area Water Trail, connects boat launch/landing sites for kayakers, kitesurfers, windersurfs, rowers and sailors.
  • The Bay Area Ridge Trail has 550+ miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails.
  • The Napa Valley Vine Trail connects 47 miles of paved paths to explore the famous wine region.
  • The Great Delta Trail will connect the five Delta counties linking the SF Bay Trail to Sacramento

Learn more about the San Francisco Bay Trail’s Sister Trails here and explore the greater Bay Area.

Source: San Francisco Bay Trail