Mare Island is a 3.5-mile long peninsula alongside Vallejo. The area was first happened upon by Spanish Explorer Perez Ayala in 1775. The island was named after Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo's prized white mare, which was feared to have drowned after the ferry it was being transported on capsized in the Carquinez Strait. The horse swam ashore on the peninsula, and was discovered alive and well a few days later.
Mare Island became a naval shipyard in 1852, and it grew into a base over the course of the following century, employing over 40,000 workers during World War II. The naval base was closed in 1995, which left Vallejo in debt but provided Mare Island with the resources to rehabilitate the salt marshes surrounding the old base.
This 2.1-mile trail is a very easy loop that provides incredible views of the bay and mountains, including Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais. There are many varieties of waterfowl as well as a population of the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. This trail surrounds a hazardous waste dump; however, that area is fenced off and does not detract from the natural beauty of the area.
You will begin your hike heading west toward the bay. This view can be particularly stunning on an overcast day. Once at the bay, turn south and continue along the wide path. Once you hit the fork you can continue to the end of the trail for another mile or turn left and loop back to your car.