In the California Bay Area, a paved 12-mile trail along Alameda Creek from Niles Canyon to the bay attracts bicyclists, skaters, runners, and equestrians called the Alameda Creek Trail. This trail will take you west a couple of miles out into the salt flats, or east following Alameda Creek to its source ten miles away in Niles Canyon. For the first four miles heading east, there’s no shade or facilities until you reach the Beard Staging Area. You’ll pass residential areas and some sections are partially shaded by locust, pepper, pine, and eucalyptus trees.

Alameda Creek Trail

see access criteria for definitions

  • Trailhead: Old Canyon Road
  • Length: Over 4 total miles
  • Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
  • Typical Grade: Gentle
    Wherever the trail passes under a road you will encounter steep slopes that may be challenging for manual wheelchair users.
  • Terrain: Hard


Begin in the east at Niles Staging Area, where the creek runs over a rocky bed and people picnic or fish (not accessible) from willow-shaded banks. Following the creek downstream on the southern trail, you pass under Mission Blvd. and, .75 miles further, pass the Alameda County Water District’s three rubber cofferdams. Inflated year-round except during storms, these dams transform the creek into a series of long ponds. In the dry season, they reduce the creek’s flow to a trickle, leaving the exposed streambed covered with cattails. A little farther on, the trail is partially shaded by locust, pepper, pine, and eucalyptus trees, and a few coast live oaks, sycamores, and cottonwoods. Wherever the trail passes under a road you will encounter steep slopes that may be challenging for manual wheelchair users. 

Sequoia Bridge spans the creek 2.25 miles from Niles Staging Area, providing access to the northern trail and Isherwood Staging Area. If you choose to start your trip from this staging area, it’s best to head upstream to Sequoia Bridge and cross to the southern trail before heading west. The automobile bridge on Isherwood Way has no curb cuts, and the surface of the northern trail makes for a very bumpy wheelchair ride. Continuing on the southern trail, you pass residential backyards for the next two miles before coming to the Beard Staging Area, the last stopping place with amenities before you reach Coyote Hills Regional Park, another four miles down the trail. This staging area has picnic grounds and a shaded lawn. If you look across the channel you will see the floodgate that leads to the former natural creek. The channel widens here, and the trail passes through farmland and alongside the marshes of Coyote Hills Regional Park. The junction leading to Coyote Hills is less than 1.5 miles from the bay.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

  • Accessible Parking: Yes
    At Isherwood, Niles, and Beard staging areas
  • Accessible Restroom: No
  • Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes
    Beard Staging area

Additional Information

  • Hours: 5 am-10 pm
  • Fees: None
  • Dogs: On a leash
Avatar photo Bonnie Lewkowicz (59 Posts)

I has worked for more than 30 years advocating for, and educating about access to outdoor recreation and tourism for people with disabilities. I hold a degree in Recreation Therapy and was a travel agent specializing in accessible travel for many years. In this capacity, and now as Associate Director at Wheelchair Traveling, I consult with the travel industry about accessibility, conducts disability awareness trainings and writes about travel and outdoor recreation. I also authored a book titled, A Wheelchair Rider's Guide: San Francisco Bay and the Nearby Coast, about accessible trails and has produced several access guides to San Francisco. My most current project is a website of accessible trails along the entire California Coast ( My extensive experience as a wheelchair rider combined with her professional experience has provided me with in-depth knowledge about inclusive tourism and outdoor recreation.

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