Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve,
Marin County Open Space District,
Marin County
In brief:
1.6 mile out and back walk on a paved multi-use trail right off US 101.

Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 1.6 mile out and back walk is easy. The trail is perfectly flat.

Exposure:
Full sun.

Trail traffic:
Moderate-heavy.

Trail surfaces:
Paved fire road.

Hiking time:
Less than 1 hour.

Season:
Nice year round.

Getting there:
From northbound US 101 in Marin County, exit CA 1/Mill Valley/Stinson Beach and turn right onto the first road at the base of the exit ramp, Pohono Street. Park on the side of the street (there are a few additional side-of-street spots on Shoreline, just north and south of Pohono).

Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
http://www.transitandtrails.org/trailheads/295

GPS coordinates* for trailhead:
Latitude 3752'46.82"N
Longitude
12230'54.20"W
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)

Gas, food, and lodging:
Pay phone, gas, stores, and restaurants south on Bridgeway in Sausalito, or north along Shoreline at Tam junction. No camping.

Trailhead details:
Scarce parking on the side of the road (adjacent parking lots are reserved for business tenants). No parking or entrance fees, and no facilities. No designated handicapped parking on the street. There is a drinking fountain on the side of the trail just north of the Richardson Bay Bridge. Golden Gate Transit buses stop at this trailhead. Visit 511.org for details.

Rules:
None posted on the trail, which is multi-use. Dogs are permitted on the paved trail, but there are some parts of the marsh from which they are prohibited.

The Official Story:
MCOSD field office 415-499-6405
MCOSD Bothin Marsh page

Map Choices:
• Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
• Download the preserve map pdf from MCSOD
Map from Bay Trail
Trails of Mt. Tamalpais and the Marin Headlands, by Gerald Olmsted (order this map from Amazon.com) shows the trail to and through Bothin Marsh.
• Barry Spitz's Open Spaces has a good map and trail description (order this book from Amazon.com).



Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page



If you've exited northbound US 101 on the way to Mount Tamalpais, you've driven right past Bothin Marsh and the Bicentennial Bike Path. Originating (in the loosest sense) on Sausalito's Harbor Drive, the Bicentennial Bike Path travels along the side of Bridgeway Boulevard, passes under the highway, then bisects Bothin Marsh and continues north into Mill Valley. Roadside parking on Pohono StreetFor cyclists, Bicentennial Bike Path is one of a handful of bike paths that ease cycling trips through southern Marin County. Hikers without a destination along the Bicentennial Bike Path will probably prefer to pick up the trail just off US 101's Shoreline exit, and walk out-and-back on it through Bothin Marsh.
     The marsh, squeezed on all sides by civilization, is hardly a serene place. Traffic noise from the Richardson Bay Bridge, and surrounding neighborhoods, is pervasive. Most (non-cycling) people seem to visit for daily exercise, usually with kids and/or dogs in tow. Weather permitting there are nice views of Mount Tamalpais, and you'll have the opportunity to watch some standard marsh wildlife, including ducks, gulls, egrets, and ravens. Trailhead
     Start from Pohono Street, and walk toward the highway. Turn right onto the signed Bay Trail segment of the Bicentennial Bike Path. Follow Bicentennial Bike Path etiquette and walk on the dirt on the right side of the path, allowing cyclists full use of the paved trail. You'll pass beneath US 101 and emerge in the marsh. Cord grass and pickleweed grow along the trail, and in these far reaches of Richardson Bay groups of ducks cluster together in secluded pools. As you cross the first bridge, look to the left for two paths (on either side of Coyote Creek), which lead to the roadside businesses on Shoreline. Continue straight on the Bicentennial Bike Path (shown on the map in Open Spaces as Mill Valley-Sausalito Multi-Use Path). There are a few benches here and there, and some interpretive panels on the marsh ecology and the building of the Richardson Bay Bridge. Mount Tamalpais is obvious straight ahead to the north, but there are other views of Strawberry Point (to the east), and west to some Marin Headlands hills. You can head back to the trailhead when you feel like it, but a logical turnaround place is where the path draws near to Miller Avenue near the "Welcome to Mill Valley" sign, at 0.75 mile.Trail through Bothin Marsh
      On the way back, near the water fountain and just before the highway underpass, turn left onto a paved path. This little loop takes a different route under the highway, and on the other side there are unobstructed views of Strawberry Point, Belvedere, and Treasure Island, as well as a few more interpretive signs. At the end of the path, walk alongside the parking lot, turn left onto the Bicentennial Bike Path, and return to the trailhead.

Total distance: 1.60 miles
Last visit: Tuesday, November 20, 2001