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Hiker on FootbridgeThe Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge offers numerous recreation opportunities from wildlife viewing and  weekend interpretive programs to waterfowl hunting and fishing.

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is located at 2 Marshlands Road in Fremont near the eastern end of the Dumbarton Bridge.  It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Beginning September 1, 2015 the center will be open Wednesday to Sunday.  It is closed on all national holidays. Located at 2 Marshlands Road in Fremont, the Visitor Center overlooks LaRiviere Marsh, a restored salt marsh which is home to two endangered species, the California Clapper Rail and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.   

At the Visitor Center you will find exhibits, trail maps, binoculars for loan, and a bookstore. Proceeds from the sale of books, posters and other educational items in the bookstore benefit the refuge's educational programs. Outside, self-guided trails will introduce you to the San Francisco Bay environment and local wildlife. These trails are open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset.  Trails are closed on Thanksgiving, January 1, and December 25.  Please call 510-792-0222 ext. 363 for further information.

Environmental Education Center

The Environmental Education Center is located at 1751 Grand Boulevard in Alviso and is at the southern end of San Francisco Bay.  The Environmental Education Center is open Monday-Friday only by reservation to school field trips. It is open Saturday and Sunday to the public from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  It is closed on all federal holidays.  It is surrounded by uplands, marshes, salt ponds, and a freshwater tidal slough.  

The Environmental Education Center building, designed for education, contains two classrooms, an auditorium, and an enclosed observation tower.  Outside, the trails and a boardwalk through the seasonal wetland habitat make it easy to see and explore the natural wonders of the South Bay.  These trails and boardwalk are open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset.  During the week when the gate may be locked or the building is closed due to educational programs, you may park and walk in to enjoy the trails.  Please call 408-262-5513 in advance to verify hours.  


The refuge is crisscrossed by miles of hiking trails. Trails are open 7 days from sunrise to sunset. Trails near the Visitor Center in Fremont are closed on Thanksgiving, January 1, and December 25.  

Our most popular trails include Tidelands Trail and Newark Slough Trail at the Visitor Center in Fremont, and New Chicago Marsh and Mallard Slough Trail at the Environmental Education Center in Alviso.  Wildlife observation and photography are encouraged. Please stay on trails and out of closed areas to minimize disturbance to plants and animals.  All trails allow bicycles except for LaRiviere Marsh Trail near the Visitor Center.  Dogs on a 6-foot leash are permitted only on the The Tidelands Trail, Harrier Spur Trail, Quarry Trail, and Marshlands Road near the Visitor Center in Fremont.  Dogs are prohibited on all other trails and refuge lands throughout the refuge.    

Trails are periodically closed due to levee maintenance or restoration projects. Check the website or the Visitor Center and Environmental Education Center for the latest trail information. All motor vehicles are prohibited on refuge trails to protect ecologically sensitive areas.

Recreational activities on the refuge

Firearms and other weapons are subject to state law. At all times, persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state law. Firearms may only be discharged in accordance with refuge hunting regulations, i.e., only during the lawful pursuit of game during legal seasons. Go to Rules and Regulations for more information on prohibited activities. 

For driving directions, please visit our "Directions" page.
For questions about recreation, please contact the refuge office.

Page Photo Credits — Hiker on Footbridge/Ambarish Goswami
Last Updated: Jul 28, 2015
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