two people walking along a boardwalk

The newest segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail is now open at Ravenswood Open Space Preserve!

An easy-access paved pathway, bridge and a raised boardwalk with an overlook and interpretive signs now connect University Avenue directly to the preserve. Walkers and bicyclists can access the preserve via the new trailhead, parking is only available at the main preserve entrance on Bay Road.

Location and Background

The Ravenswood Bay Trail project closed a 0.6-mile critical gap in the San Francisco Bay Trail on the peninsula, between University Avenue and Ravenswood Preserve. Completing this trail gap connected 80 miles of continuous Bay Trail connecting from Menlo Park to Sunnyvale and across the Dumbarton Bridge to the East Bay.

The new trail segment provides:

  • improved access to the bay for the East Palo Alto and Menlo Park communities
  • opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, joggers and bicyclists
  • a setting for wildlife viewing and environmental education
  • important commute alternatives for cyclists

San Francisco Bay Trail

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a planned 500-mile walking and cycling path around the entire San Francisco Bay running through all nine Bay Area counties, 47 cities and across seven toll bridges. With over 350 miles in place, the Bay Trail connects communities to parks, open spaces, schools, transit and to each other, and also provides a great alternative commute corridor. Established in 1989, the Bay Trail is celebrating its 30th anniversary.


two people standing on a boardwalk watching the sunriseThe project included both trail construction and wetlands restoration:

  • Redwood boardwalk and bridge over sensitive wetlands
  • New and resurfaced asphalt multi-use trail through the preserve between University Avenue and Bay Road
  • Concrete sidewalk linking the University Village neighborhood to the new trailhead at University Avenue
  • Interpretive educational panels
  • Restoration seeding along new trail
  • High-tide refuge islands for wildlife within Cooley Marsh.
  • Vegetation planting of high-tide transition zone along the levee Bay Trail.

Project Schedule

2017-2019 Design and Engineering
2018-2019 Permitting
2019-2020 Construction
August 2020 Trail opened

Funding Partners

This project was funded by Midpen Measure AA funds to help complete Vision Plan Portfolio #2 – Build New Bayfront Trails. Partners provided additional funds for:

  • Trail Planning
    - Association of Bay Area Governments/Coastal Conservancy: $40,000
  • Trail Design and Permitting
    - County of San Mateo Measure K: $1,000,000
    - Santa Clara County Measure A: $400,000
  • Trail Construction
    - California Natural Resources Agency – Urban Greening Grant: $1,055,328
    - Facebook: $300,000
    - Caltrans: $700,000

Closing a Critical Gap in the Bay Trail

Midpen Senior Capital Project Manager Scott Reeves presented this case study at the California Trails & Greenways Conference on April 15, 2021. From planning, design, permitting, and construction, this presentation highlights the complexities of the project and post-construction usership data amid the COVID pandemic.