Tubbs Island Wildlife Refuge

While this is a nice flat 8.1 mile trail along the marshland to San Pablo Bay where you have uninterrupted views of the city, take a hiking partner with you that can entertain you through a boring mile #2…or just enjoy the complete peace and quiet. I prefer my hiking partner that entertains me with hypothetical dream scenarios! You know, if we won the lottery what would we do sort of thing. Yes, we actually do talk about things like that as if it really is a possibility!

The trailhead for Tubbs Island is a tiny little parking lot off Highway 37. Blink and you will miss it and not be able to turn around very easily. Please don’t blink! You will miss out on some amazing views! Would also recommend getting there early enough to get a parking spot. We arrived on a sunny Saturday morning around 10 am ready for a nice leisurely hike and snagged the last parking spot. There was a group of birdwatchers there that morning. We were about a half mile behind them the whole way.

We had already planned to do the shorter 6 mile version of the trail just to check it out and see what this place was all about. The first mile of our hike had a farm growing I don’t know what but the vivid green and orange colors kept catching my eye. On our right we had the Tolay Creek that eventually flowed in to the bay with a few birds and tall grasses. Mile #2…I have to put this in here, it was boring. No farm, marshland for days and no birds. That was ok, we just kept going knowing that we would be close to the bay soon. Mile #3 we found the sign where we could either go one way to loop around Lower Tubbs Island or head straight or the bay. Straight we went!

As we were walking along we ran into a nice young couple on their way back from a run and they jokingly told us we were ruining the demographics on the trail! Apparently the large group ahead of us all had more gray hair than me! 🙂

We finally started seeing more bird activity and the breeze picked up…thank goodness! Our next visit to this trail will be on our bikes and in the spring when more birds are migrating and doing their fancy mating dances.

Once we were at the shore of the bay it was truly worth enduring mile #2! It was a very clear winter day, 70 degrees and sunny. I love being near the ocean, on the ocean, looking at the ocean…love the ocean! We enjoyed the moment just breathing the fresh air, the views of the city and Mt Tamalpais. We truly were so removed from the hustle and bustle but so near it to enjoy the skyline.

After our short rest we started heading back and noticed the tide was heading back out…and A LOT more birds!!! We hardly saw any on our way out to the bay and now there were hundreds flocking to feed on something in the shallow waters. I won’t pretend to know my birds but there were your normal seagulls, ones with long beaks (I am assuming to dig in the sand with) and hundreds of chatty spastic little birds that flew together in crazy back and forth patterns. I couldn’t help giggling every time they would all take off and head one way, then the next and then another. All the other birds just ignored them but I was fascinated by how they knew to feed now and that all the birds got a long. We might have to put one of the guided bird watching tours on our list of things to do so we can learn more.

The morning had warmed up quite a bit on our way back and since we knew we were going to hit that boring mile of nothingness again it made the walk back a little more difficult. Then we saw the beautiful white heron. These birds always hide from me!! I think they are beautiful and so badly want to capture a nice pic of them to frame. The hubs, he’s a great hiking partner, but a loud walker. He couldn’t sneak up on anyone if he tried! Try he did with me. Ultimately the lovely bird landed in the middle of the marsh where he knew he was protected from us paparazzi. I snapped a few pics but they didn’t come out clear enough to print and frame. One day. 🙂

We made it back to the car, sank into the heated seats and put the top down for our drive back home eager to see if any of the pics came out.

Check them out below!  We are hoping spring will bring more pics with birds in them and we’ll know what kind of birds too!

P.S. If you can name the birds, please feel free to in the comments!

0 Comment

  1. I love reading about, and seeing through your pictures, each of your adventures! We spent some time on the marsh here today, so we had our fill of seagulls, too. No crazy belly-showing birds…but we did catch a glimpse of some dolphins swimming by. Nature gives us the best gifts! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I do love sharing our little adventures 🙂 So jealous you got to see dolphins! Nature really does give us some really cool gifts!!

Don't keep your thoughts to yourself! Leave a reply: