Baltimore Canyon Open Space

Be warned: I’m starting a love affair with Open Spaces & their trails. It turns out there are lots more of them than probably you know about. Unless, of course, you are someone who knows a lot about Open Space in the Bay Area. Anyway, we went hiking at Baltimore Canyon Open Space, which is on the side of Mt. Tamalpais, last Sunday in the rain. And it was glorious and pretty much perfect for a family outing–especially an outing in the rain.

What made Baltimore Canyon so amazing, you ask? Let me tell you. First, Baltimore Canyon is on the side of Mt Tam, but since it starts out on a fire road, it starts out nice & flat (see below). It’s even flat enough that it could happily accommodate a jogging stroller. Perfect for little legs.

IMG_5685There are a variety of trails to explore. You could stay on the flat Southern Marin Line Fire Road, or you could head down the Dawn Falls Trail or up Hoo-Koo-E-Koo. Hikers familiar to Mt Tam recognize Hoo-Koo-E-Koo, and you could hop on this trail and then eventually work your way up to the summit, if you have very ambitious hikers. We were not so ambitious, and we forgot a map, so while I was totally enthralled with the idea of the Dawn Falls trail (waterfalls! exciting!), we ended up going up Hoo-Koo-E-Koo for a bit, because I had neglected to get completely clear about which way Dawn Falls led off the main trail. Hoo-Koo-E-Koo was not a flat trail, but since my hiking companion was leading the way, she was quite content to hike up some fairly steep switchbacks, through some dripping wet redwoods–it was beautiful.

Also amazing? You can have dogs in Baltimore Canyon. On the fire road, they can even be OFF-LEASH (under voice control, obviously). I have tried to figure out where to take the dog on Mt Tam before, but given up in overwhelm after trying to piece together all the different regulations. This makes Baltimore Canyon (and other Open Spaces– I’ll be adding more to this list!) a perfect place to take a toddler and a dog.

Note: There is no parking lot at Baltimore Canyon. Parking is along the side of the road. For us, we went during a rainstorm and there was plenty of parking, but on a nice day, parking could be an issue. However, probably no more than parking is an issue at Muir Woods, so there’s that.

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