Mountains, forests, off-leash fire roads and a trail for every age and ability -- Blithedale Summit Open Space Preserve is a haven for hound-dog hikers, and if you find yourself looking for a spot to stretch your legs in the Mill Valley, CA area, you’d be barking mad not to visit! You’ll find free roadside parking on W. Blithedale Avenue, but spaces fill up fast, so it’s best to get there early on the weekends. The preserve is understandably pawpular with local pups and their people, but at over six hundred acres, the area is large enough that it never feels too crowded -- you and your pooch won’t have the place to yourselves, but you can still snatch some solitude on some of the less-frequented trails.
Many of the trails in Blithedale Open Space provide spectacular scenery without insane inclines. For a quick afternoon hike, check out the Dawn Falls Trail, a three-mile loop that runs through cool forest and fern-lined canyons on the way to the waterfall. If you’re seeking stunning vistas, continue on for an extra mile-and-a-half to Baltimore Canyon, where you’ll get a fabulous view of San Francisco Bay. Like most Marin County Open Spaces, Blithedale Summit allows free-roaming fur-balls on its fire roads, but in most cases, you and your pooch will pay a steep price for your freedom -- quite literally. Many of the fire roads feature sharp uphill stretches, though Hoo-Kee-E-Koo Fire Road is a little more mellow.
As you might have guessed, the trails in Blithedale Summit Open Space Preserve vary in terms of accessibility -- be sure to look up a map before you go! In terms of facilities, there aren’t any restrooms or drinking fountains, so bring plenty of water with you and be sure to go before you go. Remember to bring waste bags for your buddy, and have a furrific time on the trails!