This preserve is the largest link (899 acres) in a chain of preserves that follow the “Northridge” of Mount Tamalpais as it sweeps down between the communities of Mill Valley and Corte Madera. The trails and roads in this area pass through a variety of habitats, including deep forests and dense chaparral. The fire roads along the ridges are generally steep and rocky, but there are plenty of routes that take you through quiet redwood groves among huckleberries and sword ferns. Pileated woodpeckers and the endangered northern spotted owl nest here. The woodpeckers chip away at fallen trees looking for carpenter ants by day, while the owls swoop down on dusky-footed woodrats at night. In spring, listen for the endlessly melodic song of the winter wren in the deeper canyons. These cool canyons support a variety of different lilies in early spring, including fetid adder’s tongue and two species of trillium. In the chaparral, look for the uncommon tree poppy among the manzanita and ceanothus.
East access: from Hwy 101 in Mill Valley, take exit 447 for E Blithedale Ave west 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Carmelita Ave, right onto Buena Vista Ave, and follow Buena Vista (turns into Glen Dr). The gate is approximately 1 mile up on the left (before dead end).
West access: from Hwy 101 in Mill Valley, take texit 447 for E Blithedale Ave exit west on E Blithedale Ave, which becomes W Blithedale Ave near Throckmorton Ave. MCOSD gate is on the right just past Lee St.
Visit walkbikemarin.org, transitandtrails.org, 511.org, or dial 511 to find out about alternative transportation and public transit options from your location.
The cool forest is home to the endangered Northern Spotted Owl which hunts for Dusky-footed Woodrats that thrive on the chaparral covered ridges.