Even a Great Dane will feel dwarfed on a hike featuring the giants of Marin County’s San Geronimo Valley. The 300-acre Roy’s Redwoods Open Space Preserve, administered by Marin County Parks & Open Space, is doubly rewarding in spring, when the meadow at the trailhead is splashed with wildflowers that paint a colorful swash against the somber palette of “big boys” in the distance. Rover will have to stay leashed as you explore the web of trails leading to and through the grove, but there are so many interesting plants (and other visiting canines) to sniff that he won’t mind.
The three-mile Roy’s Redwoods Loop Trail passes from the bright meadow into the shadowy realm of old-growth coast redwoods that have stood stern and erect since long before Sir Francis Drake sailed the nearby shore. You’ll blink hard upon emerging on the other side into a landscape of rocky outcrops, grassy ridges and pretty little meadows. On a clear day, the shimmering waters of San Pablo Bay and the hump of Mount Diablo are visible. You’ll encounter 800 feet of elevation gain if you follow the trail to its high point. Bring water for you and your dog (there are outhouses but no faucets at the trailhead) and enjoy this off-the-beaten-track preserve on the outskirts of suburbia now, before dust season arrives.