Mallard Slough Trail is a 3.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Alviso, California that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length3.6 miElevation gain29 ftRoute typeLoop
Wheelchair friendlykid friendlystroller friendlyHikingMountain bikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningLakeWildlifeNo shadeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

According to Access Northern California (http://accessnca.org/access-northern-california/explore/explore-detail-view/?site_id=173): The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the first and largest urban national wildlife refuge in the United States, is just one piece of the larger San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Encompassing 30,000 acres, the Don Edwards refuge consists primarily of tidal marsh, salt ponds, mudflats, and seasonal wetlands. Public entry points for visiting Don Edwards are at its headquarters (at the refuge's north end in Fremont) and at this site, which is around the southern tip of San Francisco Bay. The refuge encompasses thousands of acres of restored wetlands, and it is a very fine place to see waterfowl. It's also scenic, with interesting shrubbery along the marshes and wide expanses of blue water, as well as ponds in various shades of yellow and red because of the salt-tolerant microorganisms that flourish where the tide is excluded. The trails in the Alviso section of the refuge are almost entirely wheelchair accessible since most run atop level levees that double as maintenance roads. Not many people come here, with the exception of school groups and birdwatchers. The Mallard Slough Loop is closed during hunting season, late October to late January. If you want to do the loop in its entirety, be prepared for a day-long outing and a variety of weather conditions along this exposed part of the Bay shoreline. The Environmental Education Center has displays on the South Bay’s ecology and history, a small bookstore, and replicas of the reed boats and shelters used by the native people. It is used for school programs and other events on weekdays and is open to the public on weekends. The entry door is rather heavy. The visitor center area closes at 4 PM, so please be cautious if you use their parking lot. There is limited parking available just outside of the gated road, which is the start/end point shown on the map for this trail loop. If you have any concerns about the gate closure it may be best to park just outside. Accessibility: There are firm, designated handicapped-accessible parking spaces with a 2% slope or less behind the education center. When the lot is closed, nose-in parking is permitted outside the gate on a wide, hard gravel strip along the road, but it has no designated accessible spaces. The trail surface is dirt/gravel and it is typically at least four feet wide. It is flat with an average grade of 1% and a max grade of 2%. The connector trail from the education center to the Mallard Slough Trail is a bit steep, slightly exceeding a 5% grade in places. The connector trail from the education center is less than 4 feet wide. Firm (hardened soil) for most of the loop. Some spots are uncomfortably soft. It can be bumpy - a manual chair user will need to be strong and may need assistance, especially on the spur which has more gravel. From the education center, you can take a boardwalk to the 5.5-mile Mallard Slough Loop Trail, a gravel and dirt levee path. Following the loop clockwise from the boardwalk, the going gets tougher about two miles out - here the dirt surface becomes more uneven, with large gravel and some soft spots. A half-mile spur trail extends from the northernmost point of this loop to Coyote Creek; the surface is soft, making travel difficult compared to the main trail, but it may be worth the trouble since the spur takes you to the site of Drawbridge, a small town that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There's little left to see of it now, but stop in at the Education Center to look at photos and learn about its history. As you round the halfway point and head back, traveling should become a little easier. The visitor center is wheelchair accessible. There are accessible restrooms inside the Environmental Education Center but the restroom doors are heavy. There is an accessible porta-potty is in the parking lot near the accessible space. Partially accessible picnic tables are across the parking lot from the Environmental Education Center in a covered open-air pavilion. There isn't enough space at the end of the tables for most wheelchairs to pull under them. Another table is just off the New Chicago Marsh Trail, but is down a steep path on a soft surface and is not accessible without a lot of help.

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Reviews (186)
Photos (379)
Recordings (204)
Completed (346)
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Tingwei Chang
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Hiking
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miguel Ochoa
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Hiking
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Ratika Gandhi
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HikingNo shade
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James Shang
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Hiking
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Doug Ekey
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Hiking

Perfect day for a hike. Lots of birds and no mud.

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Jaya Patil
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Rajani Shailender
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Hiking

Easy trail, but extremely muddy and slippery after a rain shower

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Matthew W
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Hiking

Main gate is locked, but you can park at the "outside lot" and walk in. Plenty of birds around.

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Sein Tun
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Hiking
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Santiago Nieto
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Hiking

Lots of nature and plenty to see. Solid are with lots of cyclist.

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Tyler K
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Hiking

Great bird watching. Had to park on road because gate was locked, but no issues walking in. Not too crowded when on trails. Bring a hat!

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Stacy Martin
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Mishelster User
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Hiking

so serene. very isolated. no bathrooms. so must be prepared. but worth it. great marshes. beautiful birds. remote.

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Dawn Gerdt
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Jentel Das
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Hiking

Super quiet beautiful peaceful hike

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Joseph Beshay
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Hiking
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Matthew Khaddor
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Hiking

the trail was so empty! tons of birds obvi, but so so peaceful. i got lost in walking and talking to myself tbh there’s also a cute little bench/lookout area halfway through that i did a few squats and lunges in!

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Alejandra Pillmore
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Hiking

Beautiful birds. Lots of ducks. Bring binoculars. A little muddy, so dress appropriately. Limited parking.

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Pedro Garcia
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Hiking
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Mrunal Upadhyay
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Jessica Provencher
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Hiking

Great experience minus the hunters shooting birds out of the sky a couple feet away from the trail.

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jennie zhang
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Hiking

Nice spot for sunset and bird watching

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Amy Drohan
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Hiking
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Jason Wong
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Running

Nice quiet relaxing trail. I would for sure come back here to run and even without headphones. There’s something very meditative about this trail. It’s also really cool seeing all of the different types of birds. There’s not really any parking at the moment, but you might get lucky outside of the gate.

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Kalyan Neelamraju
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Shubha UH
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Walking

Wonderful view of the bay and the mountains. Can get Slushy in few parts if it has rained recently. Haven for bird watchers!

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Stacy Martin
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Jin Lee
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Paolo Barettoni
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Ewout van Bekkum
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