Magazine article Sunset

West Marin Refresher: Don't Pass by the Hills of San Geronimo Valley

Magazine article Sunset

West Marin Refresher: Don't Pass by the Hills of San Geronimo Valley

Article excerpt

To my mind, spring starts when the wildflowers appear at Roy's Redwoods Open Space Preserve in San Geronimo Valley. When I was growing up, my friends and I used to mark the season's launch by the first day we could picnic here.

The 5 1/2-mile-long San Geronimo Valley, over White Hill west of Fairfax in Marin County, sees many visitors briefly as they whiz through on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard en route to Point Reyes National Seashore. But the towns lined up here--Woodacre, San Geronimo, Forest Knolls, and Lagunitas--make nice destinations on their own.

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After you top White Hill and head west, the fields framed by rolling green hills signify that you've left the urban side of Marin behind. Start a valley visit at Roy's Redwoods Open Space Preserve (entrance off Nicasio Valley Rd., 1/2 mile north of Sir Francis Drake Blvd.). You'll find an open meadow, shade under the redwood trees, and trails leading over the hills for out-and-back hikes. For picnic fixings, stop en route at the Woodacre Country Market & Deli ($; 175 San Geronimo Valley Dr.; 415/488-9064).

To the south, along San Geronimo Ridge, you can hike for days in the vast Gary Giacomini Open Space Preserve (in Woodacre, take Railroad Ave. …

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