There are parts of Yerba Buena Island that have not been open to the public in generations, but they are now, in the form of hiking trails, dog parks, and more as the island takes on its long-planned new identity.
Here’s an unconventional yet promising idea for a San Francisco holiday week hike: Yerba Buena Island, which you’ve probably known more for just the concrete tunnel you drive through back and forth when heading to or from Oakland. But the Chronicle reports that there’s a whole set of brand new parks and public spaces on Yerba Buena Island, which provide panoramic views and perspectives of Alcatraz, San Francisco, and the East Bay that are unlike any other views in the Bay Area.
"Amid all the changes happening on Yerba Buena Island in the middle of the bay — big new buildings and a redone road network, for starters — the subtle transformations are what make it worth visiting now," writes John King. https://t.co/hJNJotDWsW— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) December 18, 2023
There are new picnic areas in Clipper Cove, ideal for seal-watching as it’s a protected seal colony area. A new dog park in an area now called Buckeye Grove is full of decorative boulders, which were repurposed from the nearby construction projects at Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. Even the new park benches are made from the eucalyptus trees on the island, trees which have become invasive and were cleared, as the developers are determined to reuse as many of this island’s elements and incorporate them back into the new parks and spaces.
“We got them to agree that anything over two feet in all directions should be salvaged,” Will Benge of the project’s designer, CMG Landscape Architects, told the Chronicle. “There are so many nuances to reuse.”
There's a new addition to the San Francisco skyline. The Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto has planted a 69-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture on a hilltop in Yerba Buena Island. "Point of Infinity" is meant to serve a beacon for a new public art program. https://t.co/oe2lDlWLuk pic.twitter.com/vzVfy7VAt4— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 9, 2023
Admittedly, much of Yerba Buena Island is still a construction site. There is that new 69-foot "Point of Infinity” sundial sculpture, which is visible from many spots on the island, though that area is not yet open to the public. And one third of the island is now and will remain a Coast Guard base, but there are still acres and acres of new open space to explore.
Commander's Quarters and light on Yerba Buena Island, San Francisco Bay. pic.twitter.com/fFBjMJqzij— Mendocino (@BillMendocino) June 5, 2023
Remember, you can now get to Treasure Island and the connected Yerba Buena Island on that $5 each way Treasure Island ferry that opened last year. While there is a bike lane to bike there from Oakland, the Bay Bridge does not have a bike lane from San Francisco. But you can catch Muni’s 25-Treasure Island bus from the Salesforce Transit Center, and there is ample parking on the island if you prefer to drive.
Image: @prinzrob via Twitter