If you’re looking for a peaceful day of hiking in the redwood forests of Marin County, check out the Baltimore Canyon Open Space Preserve near Larkspur. This preserve is frequented by hikers, runners, and bird watchers. The preserve is dog-friendly and accessible year round. Hiking through the preserve, you can observe lush wooded, fern-covered canyons, and pass the 30-foot Dawn Falls waterfall.
Baltimore Canyon is one of the prettiest hikes in the area during winter when the trees are coated with lush moss, and it’s especially beautiful after rain when the waterfall and Larkspur Creek are running strong. During summer the preserve provides cool shade, during spring wildflowers often appear along the trail, and big-leaf maples will even yield some fall color. Some parts of the creek run year-round, and patient observers may spot a steelhead or a California giant salamander. The adjacent parklands of Mt. Tam, Blithedale Summit, and King Mountain provide enthusiastic hikers with opportunities for longer hikes, but for an enjoyable afternoon the 2-mile out-and-back hike to Dawn Falls is perfect.
East access: from Hwy 101 in Larkspur, take the exit for Tamalpais Dr west. Turn right onto Tamalpais Dr, slight left onto Redwood Ave, take the second right onto Corte Madera Ave, continue onto Magnolia Ave, left onto Madrone Ave, right onto Redwood Ave, left onto Oak Rd, continue onto Wilson Way, and follow to end (dead end). Start at the trailhead and walk down the path towards Larkspur Creek, then turn right onto the signposted Dawn Falls Trail.
West access: from Hwy 101 in Larkspur, take the exit for Sir Francis Drake Blvd west 2.1 miles. Turn left onto College Ave, right onto Woodland Rd, left onto Evergreen Dr. Continue uphill to the intersection with Ridgecrest; 50-feet uphill from this junction, left onto Crown Rd, and follow to end (dead end). Start at the trailhead and walk down the path towards Larkspur Creek, then turn right onto the signposted Dawn Falls Trail.