Hike Around San Leandro Bay: 9 November 2004

Latitude: North 37° 45.053’

Longitude: West 122° 12.458’

Photos by Neil Mishalov

San Leandro Bay is located in the city of Alameda and Oakland in the area between the Oakland Airport and the Oakland Coliseum, in Alameda County, California.

Before the California gold rush sparked an influx of people into the San Francisco Bay area starting in 1849, the San Leandro Bay was surrounded by one of the world's greatest marsh lands that supported an immensely rich population of wildlife. However, almost immediately following a substantial increase of human migration into nearby areas, an assault on the San Leandro Bay's wildlife and habitat began. First on its wildlife, and then on the land.

The marsh's daily inundation of water during high tides left it underwater for much of the day. This made the marsh costly to build on and therefore undesirable for most early builders. Ironically however, instead of protecting it, the marsh's isolation only left large amounts of undeveloped land in reserve for later developers who would use new technologies to change vast areas of unused land for their new mammoth-size projects. With basically an "empty slate" in terms of controlling interests of the land, these builders were able to literally pave-over and fill-in virtually all of the marshland -- and even continue well out into the San Francisco Bay. Although the development of the marsh may have resulted in "public good" -- it also resulted in near annihilation of the natural wonderland that was the San Leandro Bay.

It is speculated that even the small amount of marshland that remains today called "Arrowhead Marsh" was created when an earthen man-made dam on the San Leandro Creek, up in the Oakland hills, failed in the 1850s, washing large amounts of soil down the creek and into the San Leandro Bay, creating Arrowhead Marsh.

Some hike factoids and statistics: Time on the trail: 9:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Number of hikers: 2. Distance covered: 8.02 miles.

All Images and Text Copyright © by Neil Mishalov


The Oakland Coliseum, Highway 880, the Oakland Airport and the Alameda Golf Course are some of the larger projects that were constructed on the marsh lands of San Leandro Bay

Map circa 1980's. The "proposed harbor facilities" were never constructed

Topographic Route Map and Elevation Profile:

Data gathered with a Garmin GPS Map 60C

Topographic mapping program for Macintosh OSX by National Geographic

Satellite Photo Map with Route Superimposed:

TerraBrowser satellite mapping program for Macintosh OSX by Chimoosoft

GPS track converter by GPSBabel

Click on an image to see the full size photograph

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The start of this hike around San Leandro Bay is at Garretson Point, which is located near the Oakland Coliseum Whoa! Gene gets a call from his broker. 'Sell 10,000 shares.' A lovely bird stands quietly, and looks intently at me
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Can you see the birds feeding in the marsh land? More birds feeding You've seen auto junk yards, here is a military plane junk yard located near Oakland Airport
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Bay Farm Bridge in the distance The Oakland Hills The Oakland Coliseum
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Former refuse site Alameda Island Bay Farm Vehicular Bridge
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Crossing Bay Farm Pedestrian Bridge View of San Francisco from Bay Farm Bridge San Leandro Bay
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High Street Bridge High Street Bridge plaque Walking across the High Street Bridge
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View of downtown Oakland from the High Street Bridge Asphalt plant San Bruno Mountain which is located across San Francisco Bay
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Canadian Geese resting on their trip south San Francisco in the distance Mount Tamalpais in the distance

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This page created on 9 November 2004, and all photographs copyright 2004, by Neil Mishalov neil@mishalov.com