Dog-friendly Blithedale Summit Open Space Preserve

Blithedale Summit Open Space

Mill Valley, California 94942
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Local Phone: (415) 473-2816

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

Help us keep this trail beautiful and dog-friendly:
• Always follow the posted rules as they may have changed
• If in off-leash area, keep your dog under voice command
• Respect and protect wildlife and habitats
• Pack in and pack out, leaving only paw prints

Sunny ay Baltimore Canyon Preserve. <br/> Photo Credit: @herecomesthesunny_dog
Sunny ay Baltimore Canyon Preserve.
Photo Credit: @herecomesthesunny_dog
Marin County has long been a leader in land conservation, and the public has long been a beneficiary of its valiant efforts. The Marin County Open Space District manages 34 preserves set aside to preserve wildlife habitat, but people and pups can enjoy them, too. You’ll need a leash on most trails, but if your dog has a solid recall, you can unclip and let her hike free beside you on the many fire roads that crisscross the preserves. more »
Marin County Parks is warning visitors to Blithedale Summit Open Space Preserve about a man posing as a Ranger and harassing people with dogs. The man is described as white, in his 40s, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall with short salt-and-pepper hair and very fit. more »

Wide Open Spaces
The Marin County Open Space District, which turns 40 this year, was born from a heroic movement to preserve natural lands and contain urban sprawl. Today it administers 34 preserves—all but one of them dog-friendly—totaling more than 20,000 acres and providing Bay Area residents and visitors with many ways to play. Four-legged hikers enjoy the rare privilege of accompanying their humans off-leash on the fire roads in the preserves, and while tethers are required on other trails, none of the paths are off limits to canines.  more »

Boy and dog in Bon Tempe MeadowMore than 60,000 dogs live in Marin, according to estimates from the Marin Humane Society. Open space is the draw for residents and visitors alike, with tens of thousands of acres available for on- and off-leash activities. The Marin County Open Space District alone manages 34 preserves totaling 15,000 acres open to public recreation. At all but 10, well-behaved dogs under voice control can accompany you unleashed on fire prevention roads. more »
kayla at Blithedale SummitIf you wake up on a clear day itching for a hike that provides challenge, historical context and views, put paws to the path on a 6.6-mile trek along the Old Railroad Grade trail in Blithedale Summit Open Space Preserve on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais.  more »
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