A Complete Guide to Marin County Hiking

  • Eric Schmitt
  • 02/10/22

Marin County is known for its rugged natural beauty, which ranges from the Marin Headlands and Golden Gate National Recreation just across the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco to the Point Reyes National Seashore in the northern part of the county. Much of Marin County is open space with a wide variety of terrain that makes it a paradise for hikers.

Marin County is diverse and has many hiking trails that are perfect for hikers of all abilities. People who have recently purchased Mill Valley homes for sale can acclimate themselves to the county’s incredible scenery by heading to any number of popular trails that are just a short drive away. Nearly 60% of Marin County is taken up by several national and state parks, all of which have many hiking trails through forests, meadows, and coastal mountains.

Marin County housing remains popular, so if you are interested in moving to this desirable area, hire a great real estate agent to help match your housing needs with some ideal properties, including Corte Madera homes for sale. The many wonderful communities in Marin County have personalities all their own, so working with an experienced real estate agent will help you find your dream home. Once settled into your home, you can begin taking hiking adventures throughout the county. Here are some suggestions:

Marin Headlands -- Golden Gate National Recreation Area


Battery Spencer Overlook -- You’ve probably seen countless photos of the Golden Gate Bridge from the north side, so you might choose to begin your Marin County hiking adventure at Battery Spencer Overlook. The lookout point is located northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge on a bluff on Marin Headlands, and hikers are at eye level with the north tower. It is only a short walk from the parking lot to the overlook, so it’s also easy to bring kids along. Battery Spencer is an old coastal gun battery that is now a historic site.

Tennessee Valley Trail -- The Tennessee Valley Trail is a 3.4-mile out-and-back trail that takes hikers from near Sausalito down to the Pacific Ocean. It is a busy trail that is considered moderately tough. It traverses rolling hills, and hikers are treated to colorful displays of wildflowers and other vegetation depending on the time of year, as well as wildlife sightings. The trail is also used for horseback rides.

Rodeo Beach, Coastal Trail, and Miwok Trail -- This is another moderately difficult trail, although it is a 5.3-mile loop. This trail is favored by hikers who live in Mill Valley real estate and enjoy seeing wildflowers blooming in the pleasant climate. Dogs and horses are allowed on the trail. Miwok Trail loops off near Rodeo Beach and takes a route along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Point Reyes National Seashore


Point Reyes National Seashore is a large section of protected coastline in the northern part of Marin County and is home to many trails that take hikers to some incredible natural formations.

Chimney Rock Trail -- The 1.4-mile trail to  Chimney Rock offers a wonderful vista of the rugged seashore in this national park as well as the natural beauty of Drake’s Bay. The trail follows the exposed bluffs on the peninsula that form the eastern part of Point Reyes. Besides the wonderful ocean scenery, hikers will also catch glimpses of marine life and wildflowers in the spring.

Palomarin to Alamere Falls -- Making this 8.2-mile hike is well worth it for people who have recently purchased Larkspur CA homes for sale because it ends at Alamere Falls, a rare “tidefall” that flows directly onto the beach. Along the way, hikers will follow a trail through a landscape lined with coastal scrub pine and oak forests, as well as lakes. Alamere Falls flows from a rocky cliff onto a wide beach and provides a great backdrop to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Sky Trail Loop, Bear Valley to Mount Wittenberg -- Hikers use this trail to gain access to lesser-known parts of Point Reyes, and it can be busy at times. This trail goes for seven miles and gains an impressive 1,291 feet of elevation, so hikers need to be in good shape.

Steep Ravine Trail to Dipsea Trail Loop -- This trail of about 3 ½ miles gives hikers views of the coast and traverses ravines with redwoods. Hikers will gain some 950 feet of elevation.

Mount Tamalpais



Mount Tamalpais State Park -  Steep Ravine Trail -- Mt. Tamalpais is one of Marin County’s best-known landmarks, towering over the state park that bears its name. People who own Corte Madera real estate know that Mount Tam has more than 100 miles of trails that are favored by hikers and mountain bikers looking to be rewarded with stunning vistas in all directions.  The Steep Ravine Trail packs 950 feet of elevation gain into its 3.4 miles, as well as diverse landscapes that include stands of redwoods, gullies full of ferns, and large boulders. There is plenty of shade as hikers make their way up the mountain.

Hiking safety

Residents of Larkspur real estate who enjoy heading out onto Marin’s trails shouldn’t get lulled by the incredible beauty and serenity on many of these hikes. They need to be prepared, even on day hikes. Hikers are advised to always take plenty of water, as well as snacks such as protein bars and that trusty standby, trail mix. They should also dress in layers as the temperature can change throughout a hike.

Most importantly, hikers should always be aware of their surroundings and have the physical stamina to make it through a hike. Some trails lead into remote sections of the county, and it’s not hard for someone unfamiliar with the terrain to get lost. Attention to safety is doubly important because there are many areas where cell phone service is not available, and hikers will be on their own. Carry a flashlight in case you’ve overextended yourself, and watch out for rattlesnakes and other wildlife.

These are just a sampling of all the great hiking trails in Marin County. There are many more, just as there are many housing options. If it’s time to start shopping for Mill Valley homes for sale, let Marin native Eric Schmitt put his extensive local knowledge to work for you.



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Born and raised In Marin County, Eric Schmitt specializes in helping clients buy and sell their Marin homes. Including an extensive background in sales, marketing strategy, customer service and negotiation.

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