Cogswell Marsh in the East Bay’s Hayward Regional Shoreline is a place stuck in time. And that’s a huge compliment. Quickly escape the rush of car traffic to find tranquility on a 2.75-mile (round-trip) wander around the park’s marshy seasonal wetland. This serene flat area backed by the glistening bay was once used to produce salt.
Now, it’s part of a massive restoration project that demonstrates nature’s ability to heal itself when given time. Bring binoculars as this is a prime place to spot all kinds of waterfowl, including the intriguing long-beak varieties— godwits, avocets, and stilts. You’ll also find the graceful greats: great blue herons, great egrets, and snowy egrets. The walk circles Cogswell Marsh, a 250-acre tidal marsh offering tremendous views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Diablo, and the Oakland and San Francisco skylines. Birds of a more commercial kind—airplanes making their arrival at Oakland International—fly overhead from time to time too. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s both!
Enter the park at the W. Winton Ave. entrance (map). Go through the gate, pick up a map and brochure, and head south following the sign for the marsh. There are no dogs in Cogswell Marsh, but you can take them north of the W. Winton Ave. entrance, part of the Bay Trail system.