The first part of this walk probably qualifies as “pleasant” and “interesting” rather than beautiful. From the small parking lot next to the memorial grove, a level, paved path takes you along a broad estuary with views of North Field, the general aviation section of Oakland International Airport. You’ll share the path with bicyclists and the view with anglers; there is an actual fishing pier on the Doolittle Drive side of the estuary. The Shoreline Center nearby is also home to the Oakland Strokes nonprofit junior rowing club, and this morning three quad shells were running laps in the channel.
A 15-minute walk brings you to Arrowhead Marsh, a stopover on the Pacific Flyway. Besides the ubiquitous coots and grebes, winter brings goldeneyes, northern shovelers, ruddy ducks and buffleheads. Two dozen or more members of the Ohlone Audubon Society were trying to get a glimpse of a Nelson’s sparrow that was somewhat out of its range.
To get a better look at the birds, you can stroll out a boardwalk into the marsh, or climb a swooping, wheelchair-accessible observation tower. The large, saucerlike sculpture next to it is designed to mark the solstices.
Getting There: Take Hegenberger Road east from Interstate 880; turn right on Doolittle Drive and right on Swan Way. The entrance to the park is immediately on your left.
Cool stuff in the neighborhood: The Oakland Aviation Museum. (Part of its collection is visible from your walk.)
More information: East Bay Regional Parks website.