Sweet Home Alameda

Easy biking on Bay Farm Island in Alameda

Maybe you’ve never heard of Bay Farm Island (also known as Harbor Bay) in Alameda, but you’ll want to know it if solitude is your style for an easygoing bike ride or walk. Though the stunning views of the skyline make San Francisco seem close, long stretches of time can pass without seeing more than one or two other people on the Bay Farm Island Shoreline Trail.

A pedestrian and bicycle bridge connects the main island of Alameda to Bay Farm Island (or you can take the Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry from San Francisco). Regardless of how you arrive, the flat 6-mile loop will take you all the way around the island, treating you to sprawling wildflowers, barley-lined trails, birdlife from egrets and black oystercatchers to black-necked stilts, and endless seas of blue—complete with that fresh ocean scent courtesy of the bay breeze. The trail itself is uncrowded and uncomplicated.

With a few stretches that don’t allow vehicles at all and designated bike lanes almost the entire way, the island has a remote feel that’s delightful. You’ll encounter a few crosswalks along the way near the Oakland Raiders and Peets Coffee headquarters, but you’ll find your way back to the cycling trail with ease.

BEER BONUS: If you’re heading back to the main island of Alameda, take an extra 10 minutes to reach Park Street (take Fernside Boulevard to Central Avenue, then hang a right on Park), where you can stop and enjoy the craft beers at Alameda Island Brewing Company. Try their signature Alameda IPA—a delightfully floral and hoppy take on the classic pale ale, or the equally popular Uncommon Common, a fresh creamy ale from Kentucky—perfect for a summer day.

Extra Mileage & Beer: If 6 miles around Bay Farm Island isn’t quite enough for you or you haven’t had your fill of the shoreline, catch the views from the other side along the Alameda Shoreline Trail. Cross the bridge from Bay Farm Island to Alameda, take a left, and bike along the trail with views of Bay Farm Island until you reach Robert W. Memorial State Beach. Here, park your bike and dip your toes in the sand. It’s only another 3.5 miles from Memorial State Beach to the famous Faction Brewing Company, if you really want to work for your beer.

If you’re driving, park either on the Alameda main island side to enjoy the bridge across to Bay Farm or drive over and park in any of the designated spots on the island. On public transit, take BART to Fruitvale Station, cross the Fruitvale Railroad Bridge to Alameda, and take Fernside Blvd. for about 10 minutes until you reach the bridge to Bay Farm Island. From San Francisco, take the Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry. Be sure to check the ferry schedule, as they run only weekday mornings and late afternoons. It does not run on weekends. 

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Camp and Kayak at Utica Reservoir in Stanislaus National Forest

    Sleeper Hit

    It's all about the water, and the camping, at Utica Reservoir in Stanislaus National Forest, a High Sierra reservoir perfect for kayak explorations and pitching your tent with the lake in the background.

  2. Wapama Wows

    Hetch Hetchy can be overlooked in Yosemite National Park because of its more remote location and limited facilities. But this is where you’ll also find one of the best day hikes in the park: Wapama Falls.

  3. Sheep Tight!

    You’re not going to have to count sheep to get a good night’s sleep at Sheep Dung’s beautiful property in Anderson Valley near Boonville. Four modern cottages—tucked far apart from each other among 500 acres of rolling hills—are designed for blissful solitude. And it’s dog-friendly!

  4. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. All the Wright Stuff

    Avoiding drama? That’s a good thing. Unless you’re talking about campsites. In that case, the more dramatic the better! And Wright’s Beach on the Sonoma Coast is quite the drama queen—27 campsites sitting smack dab in the middle of the wild and raging Sonoma Coast State Beach.

  2. kirk creek campground big sur

    Sur Bet!

    You can spend $1,000 a night for an ocean-view room in Big Sur. Or you can spend $45 and wake up to the sound of crashing waves and incredible views of Big Sur’s coastline when staying at Kirk Creek Campground.

  3. Secret Redwoods + Camping by the River

    Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park is a little-known gem where skyscraping reds (the tallest living trees in the world!) fly under the radar. Grizzly’s ironically small size and location off the beaten path provide near total seclusion, not to mention relaxing camping!

  4. Three Falling

    Three waterfalls, and fewer people. McCloud Falls might be the best waterfall hike in Northern California. There are bigger waterfalls in the state, but it’s the whole package that makes this 4-mile (round-trip) hike truly memorable.