by Kristin Pederson
I have been hiking Marin with
my husband, Brian, for the last six years, and we are finding
new hikes all the time (even though Brian has lived here
most of his life). Our ten month old son, Keegan, has led
us on new paths (literally), first on the stroller-friendly,
and then the more rugged jogger trails. I am constantly
amazed at how much Keegan loves being outdoors, and am so
appreciative of the beautiful place we live in. His current
top three nature favorites are herons, wind and pine cones.
We've listed below a few of our favorite walks/hikes in
Marin and hope you will try them with your families. The
rating roughly translates to: 0 = as flat as they get; 1
= still pretty darn flat; 2 = some hills, but not difficult;
3 = ok, now we're getting more challenging - you may even
get winded occasionally; 4 = lots of
steep hills - definitely a good work out, but still suitable
for a baby backpack, especially if you're not the one carrying
Brian and I are considering starting a monthly families
hike on a weekend morning. If you would be interested in
joining us, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy trails to all of you!
- Kristin Pedersen
Paved Scenic Strolls
* Creek Park, Greenbrae
Path begins at Creek Park, just across the street from Marin
General, and follows Corte Madera Creek. The path is wide
bicycle, dog and stroller friendly and the
walk is nice. You can follow it to the College of Marin,
or all the way into Ross. There is also a great playground
where the path begins.
* Blackies Pasture, Tiburon
Plenty of parking, very scenic stroll with great Bay views.
You can walk all the way from Blackies pasture to
downtown Tiburon. There is also a nice playground along
* Angel Island
Take the ferry from Tiburon ($5/person). There is a five-mile
paved road around the perimeter of the Island. Great views.
* Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Lagunitas
Several flat paved trails through beautiful redwood groves
and along creek. Can see salmon spawning late winter/early
* Earthquake Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore,
Starts across street from park headquarters. Short educational
trail passes fence split by fault line in the 1906 earthquake.
Rougher terrain trails suitable for Jogging strollers
* Lake Lagunitas
MMWD watershed above Fairfax off Bolinas-Fairfax Rd. Two
mile loop around lake. Very peaceful walk with lots of birds,
including heron and egrets. Large picnic area with tables
and restrooms. One steep hill.
* Deer Park
Deer Park, Fairfax (end of Porteous Rd) Trail starts behind
Fairfax/San Anselmo Daycare Center. Wide fireroad runs through
light wooded area. Long steep hill about one mile in.
* Phoenix Lake
Natalie Coffin Green Park, Ross: Two and a half mile loop
around lake. Can only go about 2/3rds of the way around
with jogging stroller. Great place to feed the ducks.
Parking lot is small and is closed on Sundays.
* Abbots Lagoon Trail
Point Reyes National Seashore: Take Pierce Ranch Road to
the right off of Sir Francis Drake Highway and follow approximately
4 ½ miles to small parking area with restrooms.Trailhead
is on the left side of the road. 3.2 mile trail is level
and passes lagoon before ending at the beach. Very scenic
and lots of wildlife.
Hiking Trails: Suitable for baby
* Cataract Trail
Take Bolinas-Fairfax Road to Alpine Lake. Park at/near hairpin
turn approximately ¼ mile after crossing Alpine Dam.Trail
begins alongside lake, and follows steep trail up chain
of beautiful waterfalls cascading down wooded canyon. 4
miles round trip up and down, but can see big waterfalls
early on hike. Best falls in Marin. A must see after a big
* Bald Hill
From Deer Park or Phoenix Lake.Steep trail approx 1 ½ miles
to summit and 360 degree view of Marin, Bay, Mount Tamalpais. Exposed
and very hot in summer, windy in winter.
* Tomales Point Trail
Take Pierce Ranch Road to the right off of Sir Francis
Drake Highway and follow approximately 9.5 miles to Pierce
Ranch parking area with restrooms. Trail climbs and falls
through grassy ridge along coastline. Expansive views of
both Pacific Ocean and Tomales Bay, and herds of huge Tule
Elk. Trail is about 8 miles round trip to Tomales Point,
but Elk and coastal views can be seen sooner. NOTE:
From same parking lot, can hike about 1 mile to sand dunes
at McClures Beach.
* Audubon Canyon Ranch Trail
Ranch is about 2 miles north of Stinson Beach on Highway
1. Trail rises ½ mile up wooded hillside to view point of
rare herons and egrets. Open Spring through Mid-summer to
see baby birds nesting in trees. Telescopes and guides available.
In spring, look for Harbor Seals in Bolinas Lagoon alongside
* Dawn Falls Trail
Trail in Larkspur:Corte Madera Avenue to Madrone Avenue
to Valley Way. 1.4 mile trail, steep in parts, to 25 foot
* Bootjack Parking Lot
Panoramic Highway up Mount Tamalpais. At summit/Stinson
Beach split, turn left into Bootjack Parking Lot. Variety
of trails include 6 mile loop to the summit, descent into
Muir Woods, level paved/fireroad stroll to Coastal Trail
and ocean views, steep 2 mile descent through ferns and redwoods
and alongside waterfalls on Steep Ravine Trail, or difficult
6.5 mile round trip hike to/from Stinson Beach. Restrooms
and information booth available.
Kristin Pedersen grew up on the East Coast but transplanted
to the Bay Area in 1991. After one week in San Francisco,
she vowed never to go back. She met her husband, Brian,
in law school. Brian grew up in Marin and easily convinced
Kristin to move there with him in 1994. Their son, Keegan,
was born February 3, 1999, and began terrorizing their two
cats shortly thereafter. Kristin and Keegan joined the Spring
Marin Moms group when Keegan was 9 weeks old, where they
met a number of fabulous Moms and Babes. Kristin takes a
break from her full-time mommy job to practice law part-time,
but she and Keegan continue to enjoy spending time with
the Marin Moms group. Email Kristin at email@example.com
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