Facility Activities

Things to Do

If you have 15-minutes...

  • Start at the Visitor Center and let our friendly staff and volunteers help you plan your visit! Obtain maps and brochures. Enjoy the displays and videos in the Station. Look through binoculars to sample the birdlife in the marsh. Kids of all ages can explore the Nature Discovery Area just outside the Visitor Center.

If you have one hour.

  • Try one of the easily accessed trails near the Visitor Center.

La Riviere Marsh is 0.7 miles one way. The trail is a compacted dirt levee with a wooden boardwalk. Trail leads through tidal salt marsh salt marsh
Salt marshes are found in tidal areas near the coast, where freshwater mixes with saltwater.

Learn more about salt marsh
, restored from a commercial salt crystallizer bed. This trail is probably the best place on the refuge to view the endangered Ridgway’s rail as it comes out at low tide to feed in the muddy slough channels.

Tidelands Trail is 1-1.4 mile loop. The trail is compacted gravel on level areas and a combination of paved and compacted dirt on steep slopes. Trail traverses uplands, tidal slough, salt pond, and tidal salt marsh. Shorebirds and grebes are plentiful in the pond during the winter, and Forster’s tern and American avocets in the summer. The tidal marsh is home to the endangered Ridgway’s rail.

If you have half a day or more.

  • Take one of the trails in Fremont and then travel over the Environmental Education Center in Alviso! Several trails are available and opportunities for some excellent birding, especially during the fall and spring migrations. The Center also has a butterfly garden and a self-guided nature Play area.
Notice:  Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) plans to perform enhanced inspections of their electric infrastructure; this will involve a team flying a drone to capture imagery of their structures and takes approximately 30 minutes per structure.  Drone flights will occur...

Fishing is allowed year-round. Refuge includes two bank fishing locations and one fishing pier. A fishing license is not required of anglers who use Dumbarton Fishing Pier. Available species include striped bass, sculpin, shark, croaker, halibut, sturgeon and crabs.

From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.
Many refuges champion wildlife viewing as a key recreational activity.
Whether you wield a smartphone or a zoom lens, you’ll find photo-worthy subjects at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. Wildlife photography is a priority public use on national wildlife refuges, so you’ll find wildlife drives and blinds and overlooks to help you get the images you’re after.
Painting and sketching in nature is possible at nearly all sites open to the public. Sometimes, sites host public displays of artworks created on the refuge.
Biking is a good way to see wildlife, learn about habitats and photograph nature. Yield to pedestrians; many refuge routes are multi-use trails. Biking may be permitted at sites where it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose. E-bikes are permitted on any refuge roads and trails where traditional bicycle use is allowed, if it is consistent with a refuge’s statutory purpose and the refuge manager determines it to be a compatible use.