From Sausalito to Novato, there’s no end to the glory of walking your dog in majestic Marin county. And with so many spots that welcome dogs, there’s a reason the expression, “Only in Marin”still holds true. Here are some top trails for strolling, sight-seeing, and finding a quiet spot for kicking back – perfect for less than avid hikers or older dogs. So pack a picnic and head north, no puppy power or crampons necessary.
Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve Trail, Corte Madera
Minus a few short steep sections, this easy two-mile loop features unbeatable views and benches for lounging along the way. Nestled between Tiburon and Corte Madera, the expensive grassy slopes offer up 360 degree vistas of the majestic Mt. Tamalpais, the Bay, the City, all in sparkling view on a sunny day. Step around interesting rock formations, skip across tiny creeks and blossoming hillsides – no matter what time of year you go, Ring Mountain delivers. Insider’s tip: Stop by Paradise Market for sandwiches to go and pack a perfect picnic.
Directions: From Hwy. 101 in Corte Madera, take the Paradise Dr. exit. Make the first right at the mall and go east for about 1.5 miles. The entrance to the park is on the right.
Starkweather Shoreline Park Trail, San Rafael
Off the beaten path, this three-mile paved running route is an easy walk for you and your furry companion. With gorgeous views of the water, the East Bay, the Marin Islands and the San Rafael-Richmond Bridge, it’s a surprise find it crowd-free again and again. An excellent choice for a quiet morning, you’ll spy egrets, ducks and other wildlife striking their peaceful poses. Stop in at the tiny Bay Cafe (just up the path on your left) and order up a cup of fresh brewed Joe to sip on your stroll; it will be an amazing start to just about any day.
Directions: From 101S, take the Richmond Bridge (580E) exit toward Richmond/Oakland. Take a right at the end of the ramp onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd. , which turns into 580. Take the last Marin exit off ramp and go under the freeway. Take a left on E. Francisco Blvd. and park on the street. The path starts at the Marin Rod & Gun Club.
Tiburon Bike Path at Blackie’s Pasture, Tiburon
The mascot of this beautiful bayside town is “Blackie” and the local horse’s legacy lives on well past his passing in 1966. From his cavalry horse beginnings to his rodeo days, Blackie carried himself with pride all the way to the corner of Tiburon Boulevard and Trestle Glen, where he retired to pasture (hence, the name of this pasture and its bronze statue of Blackie in his prime). Just three miles of flat, paved trail, the Tiburon Bike Path affords spectacular views of the city and the bay, leading all the way into Tiburon’s lovely downtown. Welcoming everyone from sunbathers to soccer players, to egrets and ducks, the trail’s grassy pastures are most of all, a dog’s paradise.
Directions: To reach the path from 101S, take the Tiburon Blvd. (California 131) exit. Go east on Tiburon Blvd. to Blackie’s Pasture Road, on the right side of the highway along the waterfront. There’s a large parking area at Blackie’s Pasture. Park and follow the paws down the easily spotted path.