Public Access and

Guided Outings and Hikes


Sierra Club hike guide Brian Collett has guided hikes along the south shore following the Napa River/Mare Island Strait to its convergence with San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait at Pier 35 for many years.  This monthly hike takes place at 9:30am on the 2nd Saturday of each month at least until the Historic Southshore is opened regularly as part of the Preserve as is planned. During the summer of 2012, we will offer a hike in the Preserve on an alternative route due to the US Navy’s environmental cleanup work taking place on the normal route.

When these hikes return later this fall, you will walk under nests of great blue herons and ospreys perched high above on abandoned light poles and pass by the oldest munitions storage magazines
on the Island, which celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2007. The 4 mile roundtrip hike is on level paved and dirt roads in an area slated as part of the Preserve but not yet open to the the public. For more information call Brian at 530-220-3121. Meet at the “Palmer Hut” at the Visitor Center entrance at 167 O’Hara Court at Railroad Ave. through the gate at the south end of Railroad Ave.

Sierra Club Led Hikes to the Historic Southshore and other locations in the Preserve

Guided outings are offered by non-profit groups through arrangements with the Mare Island Heritage Trust, with the property owners, the U.S. Navy or the City of Vallejo. From time to time the U.S. Navy also offers tours of its remaining environmental cleanup at the south shore area.

Outings, hikes, events and other programs may be scheduled and hosted by other groups for public access by arrangement with the Mare Island Heritage Trust. Click here to contact us.

The Preserve is open year round Friday-Sunday and holidays 10:00am-sunset. Guided hikes and outings are led generally on the paved and gravel roadways.


Generally, we have no designated off-road trails because there are several steps in the development of the Preserve which need to be completed first, including additional surveying for plants, animals, historic features and cultural landscapes.

Next, we will create a plan to protect and restore what’s here through a community process of planning, design and fundraising for various visitor services such as trails and visitor services.

And, finally an operations and maintenance approach must be formulated. It’s a lot to do and we will need money and volunteers, but dreams that come true do require team effort to be accomplished. In the meantime, join up on one of the outings offered or propose one!


You are always free to take the 1.3 mile (one way) self-guided paved trail walk from the visitors center to the hilltop and beyond to the western bunkers. No guide required. Most Saturday afternoons join us for a guided history and nature walk at 3:30pm. Meet at the visitors center.

Here’s a link to descriptions of all of our island trails.

All dates are the second Saturday of the month. Times change seasonally. In the longer days of April through October, the hours are 9am to 7 or 8pm.  November through February, hours 9am to 5pm. Numerous guided outings and van tours to the former Naval Ammunition Depot have been an integral part of the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival–now hosted by the Mare Island Heritage Trust for the past 16 years. In response to requests for regular public access to the Preserve and due to our commitment to the property being developed as a public trust park for the benefit of all Californians, we host public access to the Preserve weekly Friday through Sunday through an agreement with the City of Vallejo. To ensure public use of the parkland we will continue to offer outings, events and programming regularly until the Preserve is fully developed and beyond. (Click here for Schedule Calendar)

Through our weekly weekend access and special Second Saturday Access Days you are invited to experience the magic and majesty of this remarkable part of Mare Island still largely off-limits to the public except through our regular open days, guided outings, tours and special events. Access is primarily pedestrian, (although bicycles are permitted on the paved roadway only) including walks, stops at the cemetery and at the interpretive center in a former ordnance storage magazine, Building A-167 built in 1934. Outings are primarily on paved roads, and may include guest guides and a theme, such as the cemetery, native plant identification, the heron rookery and osprey nest observations, history, etc.

Second Saturday Access Day hosted by Mare Island Heritage Trust

Outing Overview