Blithedale Summit Open Space

Blithedale Summit Open Space

Marin County Parks Open Space Leash Policy: Dogs on leash are welcome to enjoy trails. Dogs are allowed off-leash under strict voice control on fire protection roads. Please follow posted rules.

Marin County Parks Open Space Preserve

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 the for East Blithedale Ave west 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Carmelita Ave, right onto Buena Vista Ave, and follow Buena Vista (turns into Glen Drive). The gate is approximately 1 mile up on the left (before dead end).

• West access: from Hwy 101 in Mill Valley, take the exit for East Blithedale Ave exit west on East Blithedale Ave, which becomes West Blithedale Ave near Throckmorton Ave. MCOSD gate is on the right just past Lee St.

• Leash rule: Dogs are allowed to be off leash as long as they are under voice control.
• Parking: Roadside parking near the open space gate on the right.
• Water: Bring your own.
• Best time of year for this hike: Beautiful year round.
• Degree of difficulty: Moderate
• Distance: 6.6 miles

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