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Ravenswood Ravenswood

All Midpen Preserves are open to the public free of charge, 365 days a year from dawn until one-half hour after sunset.

Overview | Directions and Parking | Trails | History | Regulations


Rich in marshland and vegetation, this 376-acre preserve is comprised of two noncontiguous areas located south of the Dumbarton Bridge and adjacent to San Francisco Bay.



The larger southern area, located near Cooley Landing in East Palo Alto, provides public access, funded by the Coastal Conservancy and made possible through a joint effort between San Mateo County and the District.

  • A bicycle and pedestrian trail along the levee surrounding the marsh
  • Two wheelchair-accessible observation decks
  • The marsh attracts a variety of migrating birds including sandpipers, dowitchers, and avocets. Great blue herons, white pelicans, and egrets are also common.



To reach the southern portion of the Preserve, take the University Avenue exit (toward East Palo Alto) from Highway 101. (From southbound Highway 101, turn right on University Avenue. From northbound Highway 101, turn left on Donohoe Street, then turn right on University Avenue.) Continue on University Avenue (north) for about 3 long blocks. Turn right on Bay Road. Follow Bay Road to the very end, continuing through gate RW01 (about 1 mile total). Note: Bay Road narrows and becomes a dirt road. The Preserve parking area is on the left.

The northern portion of the Preserve lies adjacent to and south of the Dumbarton Bridge approach. Parking is available on the frontage road on the west side of the bridge.



There are approximately 1.5 miles of wheelchair accessible trail on levees at this bayfront preserve. The trails are 6- to 8-feet wide, constructed of aggregate base with chip seal surface. Overlook platforms and benches are destinations at both ends of this trail, offering a place for picnics, bird watching, or just enjoying the San Francisco Bay.

Download a map of Ravenswood Open Space Preserve



South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is a federal/state multi-agency effort (Fish and Wildlife Service, California State Coastal Conservancy, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and local water districts) aimed at restoring 15,100 acres of commercial salt ponds at the south end of San Francisco Bay to a mix of tidal marsh, mudflat, and other wetland habitats.

Phase 1 of the restoration project, September 2010, focused on restoring a former commercial salt pond (Ravenswood Salt Pond SF2) into a natural tidal wetland that will support wildlife such as shorebirds. The restoration work included:

  • Enhancing 240 acres to create a 155-acre pond with 30 nesting islands for
    nesting and resting shorebirds, and 85 acres of habitat for the western snowy plover, which is listed as threatened on the Endangered Species List;
  • Constructing 0.7 miles of trail and building two new viewing platforms
    near the Dumbarton Bridge;
  • Creating an interpretive display in Menlo Park’s Bedwell Bayfront Park
    near pond habitat and historic salt marsh areas.

For more information, please visit the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.



Below is a list of some basic regulations that will help to ensure a safe, enjoyable visit.

  • Hours: Preserves are open a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). Download Bicycle Access Guidelinespdf
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.

  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.

  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.

  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves.

  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution.

  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.
Download District Regulations and Ordinancespdf


Latest News
Ancient Oaks Trail Extension Now Open! The new trail is the final phase of the POST-funded Mindego Gateway Project, and connects the new Mindego Parking Lot with Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve’s popular multi-use trail network.  More>>


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Mountain Bikers

People with Disabilities

Trail Conditions

The Ravenswood Preserve parking lot is now open.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that seasonal trail closures may change from day to day without notice, based on changing weather conditions. Also note that during winter storm season high waters can make creek crossings hazardous, so plan your outing accordingly.

Last updated on: 5/7/2015

Additional Information

Cooley Landing Project

Natural Highlights - Birds

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