Toddler Hiking in Marin

March 30, 2007

Hiking has always has always been one of my first loves. Before I had kids, I always told my husband that I wanted my kids to love and appreciate hiking and the outdoors as much as I do. So when I got pregnant, one of the first items my husband and I bought was a baby carrier for hiking and an off-road baby jogger When my son was born, I was always on the lookout for some easy but beautiful and interesting hikes. Here are a couple of my favorite toddler hikes:

In Novato, Rush Creek Preserve (as seen in picture) is a hidden gem, with 4.5 miles of trails that wind through shady woodlands along the edge of a marsh. Don’t be put off by Hwy 101 zipping by the trailhead—it gets much nicer and more peaceful as you walk. You can see an abundance of birds and wildlife as you hike; we’ve seen pelicans, egrets, herons, and even swans on our trips out there. The trail is flat and wide with few elevation changes, making it perfect for families and good for biking, too. The trailhead can be reached by taking 101 North to the Atherton Avenue exit. Go right at the exit and take your first left onto Binford Road. The trailhead will be on your right.

Cascade Falls in Fairfax is a short and easy walk (1.4 miles RT) that follows Cascade Creek and leads to a small but pretty waterfall. It’s not as spectacular as the Cataract Falls on Mt. Tam, but it’s impressive nonetheless. It’s very popular with the locals. The trailhead is on Cascade Road, which is off Bolinas Road in Fairfax. Parking can be tough along the road, so be prepared to walk a bit to the trailhead, which you won’t mind doing since you’re on a hike anyway.