Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge


(510) 792-0222


Things To Do


The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located in south San Francisco Bay, California. One of the largest urban refuges in the United States, it is an island of wildlife habitat in a burgeoning metropolitan area of 7 million people. The refuge consists primarily of tidal marsh, salt ponds, mud flats, and seasonal wetlands acting as a keystone to the preservation of the biological and physical integrity of San Francisco Bay. The refuge provides habitat for nine species of Federally-listed threatened or endangered species and is home to 227 species of birds, including 8 percent of the world population of the western snowy plover. It protects 60 percent of the world's population of California clapper rail, as well as a substantial number of salt marsh harvest mouse, both found only in the remaining tidal marshes of San Francisco Bay. Wintering waterfowl make extensive use of the area, averaging 45,000-75,000 each winter. More than 500,000 shorebirds make use of the mud flats and salt ponds. Globally significant numbers of at least eight species of shorebirds visit this refuge during migration. Nearly 400,000 people visit the refuge each year, including 10,000 school children, teachers, and parents, who take part in the refuge's nationally recognized environmental education programs. The refuge provides wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities at its Fremont Visitor Center, Alviso Environmental Education Center, over 30 miles of hiking trails, and its accessible fishing pier that extends into San Francisco Bay.

Map of Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 37.529468, -122.063084



  • Boating

    Boating is permitted on the Bay and its tributaries, but not in salt evaporation ponds or small slough channels. Canoes and kayaks are recommended since motor boats will scare away wildlife. Jet skis are not allowed. Public boat ramps are located a quarter mile east of the Visitor Center and in Redwood City. Mallard Slough is closed from Mar. 1 through Aug. 31, and Mowry Slough is closed from March 15 to June 15 to protect sensitive wildlife species.

  • Bird Watching

    The refuge is home for anywhere from 800,000 to 1,000,000+ birds during migration periods. This consists of 227 species of birds includes American white pelican, brown pelican, common murre, Western gull and Brandt's cormorant. A complete list can be found at

  • Fishing

    Fishing is allowed by boat, off the pier at the end of Marshlands Road, and in Coyote Creek Lagoon. Access to waterfowl hunting areas is permitted only by boat, with the exception of the Ravenswood site, where walk-in hunting is allowed. Check state regulations and pick up a Hunting and Fishing brochure for restrictions and a map of areas open to hunting.

  • Hiking

    The Refuge contains more than 30 miles of hiking trails, some of which accommodate bicycles. All motorized vehicles are prohibited on Refuge trails. The Tidelands Trail, a 1.8 mile easy to moderate hike, is a popular figure-eight trail. In the winter birdwatching is popular as there are an abundance of waterfowl and migratory shorebirds. Trails are periodically closed for levee maintenance and wildlife protection. Please help protect the wildlife and habitat by remaining on designated open trails.

  • Hunting

    Please see fishing information.

Phone Numbers


(510) 792-0222