Margarita Open Space Preserve,
Marin County Open Space District,
1/4 mile nearly flat loop hike on a tiny oak-dotted island.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 0.4 mile loop hike is very easy. This is a small preserve with a flat perimeter trail and a brief path that climbs to a short hill.
Some sun, some shade.
Less than 1 hour.
Hot in summer, nice in spring.
From US 101 in Marin County, exit North San Pedro Road. Drive east on North San Pedro Road about 1 mile, then turn left on Meadow Drive. Drive on Meadow about 0.2 mile, to the roadside parking near the end of the street.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS coordinates* for trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Stores, pay phones, restaurants and gas back toward US 101 on North San Pedro Road. No camping.
Side of the road parking at the edge of a residential neighborhood. No parking or entrance fees. No drinking water, restrooms, maps, or designated handicapped parking. The single trail is flat, but is not well-suited to wheelchairs. Golden Gate Transit bus #34 stops at nearby North San Pedro Road, a short distance from this trailhead.
No bikes or dogs. Horses are permitted, but you are not likely to encounter equestrians at Santa Margarita.
The Official Story:
MCOSD's Santa Margarita page
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Download the park map pdf from MCOSD.
Trails of Northeast Marin County is a great guide to Santa Margarita (available from Pease Press).
Open Spaces: Lands of the Marin County Open Space District, by Barry Spitz (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and trail descriptions.
View photos from this hike.
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
Margarita Open Space Preserve seems lifted from the pages of a fairytale. This tiny island, surrounded by
a thin ribbon of water, is accessed by a massive bridge. Once you reach
the island, you'll find a gorgeous oak woodland, towering boulders, and
a diminutive wooded hill, where rocks and spooky coast live oaks screen
all views. It takes just 0.3 mile to circuit the island, but it truly
feels like a private getaway. Winter can be muddy, spring boasts flowers,
and there's plenty of shade in summer. In autumn the deciduous oaks toss
their leaves to the ground, and by winter only a litter of dead leaves
provides clues to identify the bare branched trees.