Monday, August 5, 2013

Marin Uplands trail - Feb. 23, '13

Walking Distance: 1 mi.
Walking Time: 1 hr., 35 min. (4:30 - 6:05 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Side of road (shoulder), Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA

If you happen to be driving along Paradise Drive (on the north side of the Tiburon peninsula) and you pay close attention, you will see a wooden sign (on the northwest or hill side of the road) labeled County of Marin Tiburon Uplands Nature Preserve.

While this is not part of the Bay Trail, the Uplands trail is a great, off-map hike for those who love almost 360 degree views of the Bay. This packed dirt trail starts with a series of steps at the Paradise Drive trailhead and quickly blends into the wooded hillside.

Along the way uphill to the ridge, in the winter/spring (the wetter months in California), the path is dotted with wildflowers, and interesting moss, fungi and lichens.
On this walk I enjoyed seeing Hounds Tongue (small blue-purple flowers with white centers); Indian Warrior (scarlet-pink); irises; and white camas. Look up and you might see a leafy nest or two in the trees (perhaps a squirrel nest, or drey).

I had hiked this .7 mi. loop trail (plus another 1/2 mile up on the ridge, at the top) during my first walk around San Francisco Bay (2009 - 2011), also in the winter. The wooded hillscape looked a little drier this time, with some trees looking a little drought-stressed. But, this could have been my imagination.

There is at least one bench, in a clearing, about 2/3 up to the top, where you can stop and catch your breath.

Eventually you'll arrive at the top, a ridge area with views across the Bay to Richmond, and further south, on a clear day, you'll be able to see the skylines of Albany, Berkeley, and Emeryville in the East Bay. If you follow the trail (to the left/south) along the ridge just a bit further you'll be able to see views of the San Francisco skyline, the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Wildlife Sightings:
20 robins - maybe even more, but that's all I could see well enough to identify

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