Posted in Blogging Marin on Monday, August 15, 2016 by MCVB Staff
Find the Right Hike for You in Marin
By Megan Eileen McDonough
Marin is home to a stunning array of wildlife and breathtaking vistas with mild weather year-round, so getting outdoors here is a must. Regardless of your skill and experience level, there’s a Marin hike for you, and we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites to get you going. From trails that lead to coastal views of the Pacific to redwood-tree-lined, shaded paths, here are eight trails for every interest.
1. For Epic Views: East Peak
On a time crunch? The hike to East Peak via Hogback and Fern Creek Trail spans 4 miles and has some of the best views in Marin County. You'll reach 1,600 feet in elevation as you wind up Mount Tamalpais' south-facing slopes. While challenging at certain points, this is the most direct route to East Peak, aka the tallest peak in Marin, and the views from the top are well worth the climb.
2. For an All-in-One Hike: Chimney Rock
Can't choose among Marin's trails? The 1.4-mile trek to Chimney Rock might be a relatively short one, but it's packed with dramatic scenery. As part of the Point Reyes National Seashore, you'll have views of the Pacific Ocean along with Drakes Bay and Chimney Rock. Expect to see Marin's unique coastline up close, plus plenty of marine life and, come spring, wildflowers.
3. For Solitude: Loma Alta
If you're hoping to beat the crowds entirely, a hike to Loma Alta is a safe bet. The nearly 6-mile trek has low congestion and is one of the quieter trails in Marin. The trailhead is just across from the Big Rock Trail; they even share the same parking lot. While this journey might not involve sharp twists and turns, it's the perfect way to revel in Marin's lush hills and wide-open spaces.
4. For Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure: Deer Park Fire Road
Muir Woods National Monument is a year-round tourist attraction, but that doesn't mean you can't experience this natural wonder without the crowds. The 4.3-mile Deer Park Fire Road is kind of like a back-door entrance and one that few travelers know about. You'll still see the iconic beauty that Muir Woods is known for—namely the trees—but without having to compete for selfie time.
5. For Coastal Views: Coastal Trail to West Ridgecrest Boulevard
If it's beach you crave, then pack a picnic for the Coastal Trail. There are different segments of this 8.2-mile trail, one of which starts in Pantoll Station and finishes in West Ridgecrest Boulevard in Mount Tamalpais State Park. Make sure to bring your camera for this one, as the views of the Pacific Ocean are unbeatable even on a foggy day. Plus, the landscape is mostly flat, allowing you to take in the sights without watching your step.
6. For a History Tour: Angel Island
Calling all history buffs! The trail leading to Angel Island is filled with historical sites plus plenty of unrestricted views, picnic spots and, best of all, beaches. Although some of the historical points aren't exactly uplifting (Immigration Station is where Asians arriving to the city were imprisoned), it's a good reminder of how far we've come. There are 13 miles of trails, eight of which are paved, making this a great entry-level hike.
7. For Chasing Waterfalls: Carson and Cataract Falls
Why choose between two waterfalls when you can chase them both? Luckily, there’s a hike that features both Carson Falls and Cataract Falls. The best access point is Fairfax-Bolinas Road. From there, it's a short walk to the falls. There are a few rocky patches, so despite being a fairly easy hike, wear appropriate footwear. Bonus points if you bring your pooch; this trail is dog friendly! If you do both, you’re clocking in at around 7.5 miles.
8. For Redwood Trees: Roy’s Redwoods
There’s something extra romantic about a redwood-tree-lined trail, so we recommend this 3-mile hike to couples. This San Geronimo Valley loop leads hikers along madrone, sheltering fir and oak trees. The redwoods you'll see on this hike are among the largest in the country, which comes in handy on a hot summer day. When you reach the meadow, there are several trails that all loop around the preserve.