The NWP Railroad Trail runs on an arrow-straight course through Larkspur and Corte Madera in ritzy Marin County. Its name is derived from the railroad that once made use of the corridor: the Northwestern Pacific Railroad whisked passengers on its electric interurban line between Sausalito and San Anselmo until the early 1940's.
A portion of the same corridor farther south has been converted into the Mill Valley/Sausalito Multiuse Pathway. Between the two trails, the historic Alto Tunnel, long unused, blocks a continuous journey. The reopening of the tunnel, which cuts through challengingly hilly terrain, has long been a priority of Marin County trail advocates.
For now, head north from the tunnel, where the NWP Railroad Trail begins with a crushed stone surface in a residential neighborhood. As it bisects downtown Corte Madera, the trail transitions to a paved surface. Restaurants and shops can easily be reached from the trail. Near Elm Avenue, the Sandra Marker Trail splits off from the main trail on another former Northwestern Pacific Railroad corridor. Take that path eastward to access additional trails and the San Francisco Bay.
Continuing north on the main trail, you'll soon reach downtown Larkspur. As in Corte Madera, food and shopping destinations are within easy reach of the trail. The path ends at Doherty Drive, although the scenic Creekside Loop is just a short hop across the road from the endpoint.
Parking for the NWP Railroad Trail is plentiful in downtown Larkspur and Corte Madera. Be sure to obey any posted parking restrictions.
To reach the southern trailhead from US 101 in Corte Madera, take the Tamalpais Drive exit, and head west on Tamalpais Drive, which becomes Redwood Avenue, to Montecito Drive. Turn left on Montecito Drive and continue south, following it for about 0.3 mile to a dirt parking area that is wedged between the roadway and the trail.