From the banks of estuarine Corte Madera Creek to the tangled undergrowth that has wrapped itself around the long-unused Alto Tunnel, the Larkspur-Corte Madera rail-trail runs through a lovely slice of Marin County that illustrates why the area has become a desirable (and expensive) place to live. This network includes a bit of rail-trail from Corte Madera to Larkspur, a section along the estuary of Corte Madera Creek up to Ross and Bay Trail out to San Quentin, and a connection to the ferry terminal at Larkspur. Be sure to check out the nearby Cal Park Tunnel too!
From Home & Garden Magazine
Corte Madera Creek Path runs 2 miles roughly east to west from bayside to creekside. For a grand excursion, ride a ferry from San Francisco to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, near the start of the path, and have lunch or Sunday brunch before you head out. From the terminal, it's a short walk east on the path (it parallels Sir Francis Drake Boulevard here) to Remillard Park, with views of windsurfers and docking ferries. The park's pond has been restored by the Marin Audubon chapter and is again home to turtles and ducks. Just west on the path is a trail junction. To the left lies Corte Madera State Ecological Reserve. This 125-acre salt marsh is a restoration success-hike its dike trails to see herons, egrets, perhaps the shy clapper rail. From the junction, go off the paved path and head left up the stairway to a sidewalk on the overpass; follow Paradise Drive south 1/2 mile to the reserve. For a 1-mile round trip, backtrack to the junction.
A second option stays on the paved path and takes you along Corte Madera Creek. From the junction, go right (curving generally west), winding under the tangle of freeway and out to the peace of the creek. Mount Tamalpais rises dead ahead, and a grassy creekside park beckons with picnic tables and benches. The path meanders with the creek, then ends at S. Eliseo Drive. Backtrack to return for a 2-mile round trip, or continue on sidewalks to the next section of paved pathway. To continue, follow S. Eliseo Drive a mile to Bon Air Road and pick up the next section of paved pathway, which runs another 1 1/2 miles along the creek. It deadends near Ross Town Hall; backtrack for a 5-mile round trip.
The trail passes through downtown Larkspur, where you will find grocery stores and both upscale and café-style dining establishments.
No rest rooms are available along the route
Golden Gate Transit operates buses in this area. Contact the transit service at (415) 455-2000 or visit the GGT Web site at www.goldengate.org
There are no rentals available along the route.
Parking is limited at the trailheads. To reach the southern trailhead from U.S. Highway 101 in Corte Madera, take the Tamalpais Drive exit, and head west on Tamalpais Drive, which becomes Redwood Avenue, to Corte Madera Avenue. Turn left (south) on Corte Madera Avenue, which merges into Montecito Drive. Continue south on Montecito Drive, following it for about 0.3 mile to a dirt parking area that is wedged between the roadway and the dirt trail.
To reach the northern trailhead form Highway 101 in Larkspur, take the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard exit. Go left (west) on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to bon Air Drive. Turn left (south) on Bon Air Drive, and go over the bridge; a paved trail takes off to the north from the right (west) side of the road. The rail-trail begins on the left (east) side of Bon Air Drive on the far side of the bridge, heading south.