Hiking Marin

Join us outside! Check out our updated weekly Hiking Marin features on Instagram, Facebook and here on our website. If you’ve got a great hike to share, send it our way!

Hike of the Week

Hike of the Week: John & Jean Starkweather Shoreline Park, San Rafael

Join us outside! Check out our Hiking Marin features on Instagram, Facebook and on our website.  If you’ve got a great hike to share, send it our way!

Is it a hike or more of an urban stroll?  We can’t decide, but when the parks and beaches get too crowded, the John & Jean Starkweather Shoreline Park in San Rafael offers stunning views, bay breezes, and flat, easily walkable terrain.

There are plenty of benches to stop and watch the amazing assortment of sea birds along this three-mile stretch. The park runs along the shoreline from Pickleweed Park and continues south until the intersection with Francisco Blvd.

If you park in the Target parking lot located at 125 Shoreline Parkway, you are approximately at the halfway point.   Locals in the know report that this was once the location for the San Rafael dump and much of the breakwater in the southern section is made from cool-looking recycled construction materials.

Good information about the John & Jean Starkweather Shoreline Park including directions can be found at alltrails.com.

Additionally, here are some other simple recommendations to follow when you hike:

  • Bring a water bottle
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance from other hikers
  • Bring face coverings/masks

Hike of the Week: Lake Lagunitas – Mt. Tam Watershed

Our new Community Center staff member, Danielle Fogel, has enjoyed hiking the watershed lakes since she was first introduced to the area by Molly Rea 30+ years ago. Her favorite for a short hike is Lake Lagunitas because there are lovely views of the lake from almost every spot.

This 1.6 mile hike is good for families with children, as it offers plenty of benches and spots to stop and rest. Have the kids search for turtles on the log in the lake, and keep an eye out for the noisy woodpecker family at the halfway point. Plan for around an hour depending on rest stops.

Lake Lagunitas is one of the smaller of the 7 water reservoirs that provide water to most of Marin. We recommend going early in the morning to beat the heat and avoid the crowds.

Enter the watershed via Sky Oaks Road off Fairfax-Bolinas road. There is a parking fee for parking at the Sky Oaks Watershed Headquarters. More information can be found at marinwater.org/recreation.

Additionally, here are some other simple recommendations to follow when you hike:
*Bring a water bottle
*Maintain 6 feet of distance from other hikers
*Bring face coverings/masks

Hike of the Week: The Buckeye/Redwood Loop

This week we are featuring a hike Liora Soladay enjoys taking when she doesn’t have a lot of time for a long trek. Liora is a SGVCC Board member, the owner of Jayli in Pt. Reyes Station and frequents the trails above the Valley almost daily. Enjoy the beauty that surrounds us with this lovely loop. Happy Hiking!

Here are the directions:

Go up Redwood almost to the top of Buckeye Circle. There is an obvious trail entrance. Go up until you come to a fork in the road. Go right and continue on. The first trail you come to on your right going down is Edgewood Trail. Take that down. You come out on Edgewood. Go right until you reach Redwood and turn left on Redwood.

Join us outside! Check out our updated weekly Hiking Marin features on Instagram, Facebook and on our website. If you’ve got a great hike to share, send it our way. Wear your mask and maintain 6 feet distance from others out there enjoying our local nature!

Hike of the Week: Cross Marin Trail

How many times have you driven over Shafter Bridge on the way to Point Reyes? Just before the bridge and right above the Inkwells, there is an entryway to the Cross Marin Trail. This is a great trail to take kids who have bike riding skills. It is bumpy, but that is part of the fun! If you have the stamina, you can ride through the shady canopy of redwoods and work your way into Samuel P. Taylor Park. There are historical markers that retell the story of the papermill and gunpowder factory. You can also hike down off the path and discover what’s left of the giant slough that carried the fallen trees for the papermill into the creek. You can access
the path by parking at the Leo Cronin parking lot across from the entrance. Use caution as you cross the road and pay attention to the closing hours of the parking lot. Have fun!

Join us outside! Check out our updated weekly Hiking Marin features on Instagram, Facebook and on our website. If you’ve got a great hike to share, send it our way. Wear your mask and maintain 6 feet distance from others out there enjoying our local nature!

Hike of the Week: Las Gallinas Ponds

The Las Gallinas Ponds are located on the grounds of the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District. Howie Cort first experienced the Las Gallinas Ponds on a school field trip, about twenty years ago, with Bonnie Nackley’s class. It was during early spring and migratory birds were in their full glory. This is a great place for seniors to stroll, take your kids to ride their bikes or push a stroller on an easy, level and wide path. You’ll get to experience the sights and sounds of feathered creatures you normally don’t get to observe up close. The trail route is about a 2.1 mile loop that sits atop levees that lead you back to the parking lot. Along the way you can stop at benches to rest and there’s even a picnic spot at the beginning of the trail. On leash dogs are also allowed, too!  It’s important to pay attention to the signs and stay on
the trail. The views and scenery along the trail are fantastic, too! Don’t forget your sunscreen and water. There are portable bathrooms available. Take Smith Ranch Road and turn left just before the entrance to McGinnis Park. Follow the road past the soccer fields. Go straight past the Vine center and continue to the end of the road. Remember to wear a mask and follow social distance protocols. The ponds are open Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 3 pm. Have FUN!

Link to a video and more info about the ponds: http://www.lgvsd.org/community-programs/public-access/wildlife-info/

Join us outside! Check out our updated weekly Hiking Marin features on Instagram, Facebook and on our website. If you’ve got a great hike to share, send it our way!

The Jewell Trail

Located at the western end of Samuel P. Taylor Park, the Jewell Trail is a Cort family favorite! When Howie and Dave’s kids were young, they would piled bikes into their truck and drive down to where Olema Hill just begins its incline and Platform Bridge Road turns right off the road – currently known as Sir Francis Drake. Park at the dirt turnoff to your left. Cross the old cement bridge- where the old highway was located- and look for the trail signs on your left. This is an easy trail to walk and for younger kids to ride a bike. You can work your way into the park, explore the remnants of the papermill and play along the creek’s edge. Go during the week to avoid the crowds!

Here’s a little history: Omar Jewell (1821-1875), a native of New York who farmed in Illinois for years, came to California in 1861. By 1864, he bought property to start a dairy ranch and along with his wife Viana built a large two-story house on the property (no longer exists). In 1870, the dairy had 40 cows and produced 8500 pounds of butter.

Tomales Bay State Park

Tomales Bay State Park is the home to Heart’s Desire Beach – a most beautiful, gentle place to swim, play in the water and dig in the sand. It has all the required basics for a fun day at the beach: restrooms, picnic areas, BBQ grills and access to trails that can be a day’s hike to Shell Beach, along the Johnstone Trail, a short walk through the the cool forest to Indian Beach or the Jepson Trail which loops above the beach.

There is no life guard on duty – so be aware when your child is in the water. It is shallow- but the water is dark. We’ve taken our day camp kids to this destination for years – as well as – many school field trips. It is also one our favorite places to go with our family and friends!

Go during the week to avoid the crowds. If you have a canoe or kayak – you can paddle over to Hog Island, which is directly across from the beach, and bring back some oysters to put on the Q!

Enjoy! Stay Safe! Wear a mask and keep socially distant!

Chicken Ranch

This local beach is located on Tomales Bay, heading towards Inverness. The water is gentle and shallow, although it can be windy. This a great “put in spot” for canoes and kayaks. The parking lot is small and fills up quickly, so be aware if you go on a nice day!  Another one of our LOFT Summer Camp favorite excursions – a very safe and fun beach!

https://www.marincountyparks.org/parkspreserves/parks/chicken-ranch-beach

Facial coverings/masks are required. Wash/sanitize hands frequently. Ask people not to attend if they are feeling sick. Stay Safe. Have a lovely time!

Agate Beach

One or favorite Community Center Summer Camp destinations, Agate Beach, is a wonderland for all ages. Go at low tide and be amazed by the beautiful sea anemones, sea stars and other colorful sea life that cling and float among the rocks with the coming and going tidal change- enchanting and fun!

Remember to never turn your back on the ocean. Please do not disturb tidal pools, marine animals, or other wildlife. Wear waterproof boots. Wet rocks and seaweed may be slippery.

https://www.marincountyparks.org/parkspreserves/parks/agate-beach-park

Facial coverings/masks are required. Wash/sanitize hands frequently. Ask people not to attend if they are feeling sick. Stay Safe. Have a lovely time!

White House Pool

The White House Pool provides easy entry to Lagunitas Creek and is surrounded by a 22-acre marshy wildlife area. A small path winds along the creek’s edge through willows. This is the perfect spot to launch a kayak or stand up paddle-board or even to take a refreshing dip in the creek (today might be a little cold!). A family of otters is often spotted around the bend toward Inverness Park. The area is full of birds and other wildlife. During the late summer Watch for Poison Oak— hard to spot this time of year, but still there!

White House Pool is located at 12349 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA From Hwy 101 in Larkspur, take the Sir Francis Drake exit 20.4 miles to Olema. Turn right onto Hwy 1 and go 2 miles. Before the green bridge, turn left (continuing on Sir Francis Drake Blvd) and follow 0.7 mile. Look for the White House Pool sign on the right.

Loma Alta Preserve

Community Center staff members Julie and Poko have been enjoying many of the great hikes Marin County has to offer! Here is one they particularly love—sunrise on Loma Alta. White Hill Preserve links Loma Alta Preserve. At 1592 feet, Loma Alta is one of the highest points in Marin. Enjoy sweeping views, including the north side of Mount Tam. Park by the Brown Bridge or access the trail via the Open Space Trail behind White Hill School!

https://www.marincountyparks.org/parkspreserves/preserves/loma-alta

Gary Giacomini Preserve

Hike along the San Geronimo Ridge Fire Road, five miles long, which traverses our Valley’s amazingly scenic ridge-line. This preserve connects with White Hill and Cascade Canyon. It also borders Marin Municipal Water District lands above Kent Lake, forming an immense expanse of pristine forests stretching all the way to Mount Tamalpais. You can access the area from the East Sylvestris Fire Road in San Geronimo or via Redwood Canyon Road off of San Geronimo Valley Drive.

Bring water. Track your path. It can be easy to get lost in this vast of a preserve!

Check this link below to get more information about this lovely area and trails: https://www.marincountyparks.org/parkspreserves/preserves/gary-giacomini

After watching the Elephant Seal talk with Frank Binney, our staff member Alexa Davidson took a drive out to Drakes Beach to see the beginning of the season. Below is a video of a male elephant seal playing in the waves observed from 40 feet away. The females should be making their way to the beaches soon to birth their pups. You can visit Drakes Beach, part of the Point Reyes National Seashore (check beach closures before heading out) to see these majestic creatures for yourself. Also, be sure to check out the recording of Frank Binney’s Secrets of Elephant Seals in our Virtual Events Video Library available here on our site, look to the front page.