If you and your buddy are looking for a short but sweet hike in the Larkspur, CA area, King Mountain Open Space Preserve might just be the pawfect place for you! The trails in this 108-acre pocket preserve are mostly in the 1-2 mile length range and rated as easy to moderate. You’ll find free parking on the dirt road just off Willow Drive, but spaces are pretty limited, so it’s best to get there early. King Mountain Open Space isn’t nearly as pawpular as it should be, so this is an ideal hike for pups and people seeking solitude not too far from civilization.
The main draw to King Mountain Open Space is the King Mountain Loop, a 1.8-mile trek that takes in some fabulous forest and sweeping views along the way. The trail passes under majestic redwoods and Douglas firs, and there are overlook spots where you can see stunning vistas of Marin, the East Bay, and Mount Tam. You’ll also cross a gently burbling creek, and you and your pooch might run into one of the dedicated volunteers committed to keeping the flora of King Mountain safe from invasive, non-native species. A bench in the canyon is a grrreat place to take in the scenery, or take a load off if you feel like your fur-ball has been walking you! Other routes meander along Larkspur Creek and through chapparal and meadows. If you have time, you might want to hike the extra stretch up to Dawn Falls, though the water slows to more of a trickle in the dry season.
Like most open spaces, the trails at King Mountain vary somewhat in terms of accessibility. Most trails have at least a slight incline, so a certain level of fitness is required, but otherwise, a trip here should suit four-pawed fitness freaks and laid-back lapdogs alike. Almost all trails are well-shaded, so there’s no need to worry about your fur-baby overheating in the California sun. In terms of facilities, there aren’t any restrooms, so make sure to go before you go. Remember to bring bags and water, and enjoy your time at King Mountain!