Family hiking, boating, and eating
Shoreline at Mountain View
Built on a foundation of San Francisco’s garbage, Shoreline Regional Park has become a beautiful 750-acre refuge for people and wildlife, complete with a nice 50-acre sailing and paddling lake, a pleasant 18-hole golf course, 10 miles of easy trails, and even a little hill with surprisingly good views in all directions.
It’s a good park for a family walk, wind surfing, kite flying, birdwatching, and picnicking. Even better, while most parks provide little or no food service, Shoreline has two good restaurants—Lakeside Café beside Shoreline Lake, and Michael’s at Shoreline overlooking the golf course. (In the interest of research, I’ve eaten at both restaurants. Food is good; service is casual but friendly. I heartily recommend the breakfast sandwich at Michael’s.)
You can choose from five parking areas. The first lot is to the right of the main Shoreline Road entrance next to the dog park. (This is the only place in the park where dogs are allowed.) This is also a good starting point for a hike on Stevens Creek Trail north to the Crittenden Marsh, the salt ponds, and around the north edge of the park.
To visit the golf course, driving range, or Michael’s restaurant, continue on Shoreline Road to the second lot.
To park near the lake, continue on to the Lakeside lot. To visit Mountain View’s oldest historic house, go a little further to the Rengstorff House. This house museum hosts many Victorian events. The antique furnishings and docents dressed in elegant period costumes create a sense of history. Tours of the house are available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Perhaps the best trail in the park starts beyond the Rengstorff House. It takes you around the eastern shore of Shoreline Lake, where you see well-groomed lawns, hundreds of Canada geese, stately egrets, and long- billed sandpipers. The kids may enjoy a replica of a San Francisco Bay scow, a boat once used to ship goods across the bay.
The trail becomes less interesting on the western shore, but after a short but boring walk, you reach a bridge and Permanente Creek Trail. Heading west takes you to the 65-acre site of Vista Slope. The relatively short walk up a series of switchbacks reveals interesting views. To the south, you can see the twin spires of the Shoreline Amphitheatre and the giant hangers of Moffett Field. To the west, you see the city of Google, an amazing assortment of buildings filled with brilliant people. To the east, you see the salt flats, marshes, and the East Bay hills. To the north, the foreground displays the greens of Shoreline Golf Links, and in the far distance the San Francisco Skyline. It’s a lot of view from such a little hill.
Most of the park trails are open to walkers, runners, wheelchairs, and bicycles, but not dogs or horses. Entry and parking are free.
To reach Shoreline Regional Park, drive north on 85 or 101 highways to Shoreline Boulevard east to the end of the road.
For an excellent four-color map— www.ci.mtnview.ca.us/city_hall/comm_services/shoreline_regional_wildlife_area/trails_at-shoreline/default/asp. Click on Map of Shoreline at Mountain View, Stevens Creek, and Hetch-Hetchy Trails.