Today’s fun thing to do in Marin for me was a glorious hike up and over San Padro Mountain, from the north shore trailhead to the Gold Hill Grade trailhead. The wonderful trails take you through Eucalyptus, Redwood, Oak and Bay Laurel stands, which provide welcome shade, augmented by the mountain’s shadow itself if you’re hiking/biking in the late afternoon starting on the north side.
Starting at Back Ranch Trailhead, you walk up a ways and then connect with the Fire Trail, which is very popular with off-road bicyclists. We passed a number of riders today. We also passes a flock of turkeys around this specimen Oak (above right).
After about a mile, you reach the Ridge Road, which is not flat by any means, but not as windy as the Back Ranch Trail. There are fabulous views along the Ridge Road, including many of the East Bay, Richmond, San Pablo and San Rafael Bays, San Rafael, San Francisco, & Mt. Tam. This is where you first see some Redwood groves. The Ridge Road is actually paved for a section where there is also a microwave tower installation, and where high-powered electrical transmission towers march over the mountain and intersect the trail.
Where: Start at the end of Gold Hill Grade (road), San Rafael, CA 94901, or at the Back Ranch Trail Head on N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael, CA 94903 (map)