What’s Best: Firs, ferns, and redwoods along a wide creek path; or a high grassy ridge with views from Tomales Bay to Tamalpais. Parking: From Hwy. 101, take Sir Francis Drake Blvd. to about 9 ml. west of Fairfax, and about 1.25 miles west of state park boundary and
Shafter Bridge. Park without blocking gate at Irving Picnic Area. Agency: Samuel P. Taylor State Park
IRVING PICNIC AREA MAP SAN FRANCISCO Photo Gallery
Hike: Papermill Creek to Shafter Bridge (2.5 ml.); Barnabe Peak (5.5 ml.)
Irving Picnic Area is named for Sarah Taylor’s uncle, Washington Irving, author of Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle and other nineteenth century classics. Indeed, on foggy days as you start down the trail from Papermill Creek to Shafter Bridge, you may feel like Ichabod Crane, making your way through a misty tree tunnel under leafy trees and towering evergreens. The level trail which is the western-most segment of the Cross Marin Trail, which does not completely cross Marin ends at Papermill Creek, which is also Lagunitas Creek. When the water is low, you can cross the creek and then Drake Boulevard, to continue walking up to Kent Lake, TH87.
Samuel P. Taylor ParkBBarnabe Peak Trail at Madrone Group Area
To Barnabe Peak also accessed via a shorter route from TH84 start to your right on the Cross Marin Trail along the creek. About .75-mile later, as you pop out of the redwoods and enter a fir and laurel woodland, you’ll see the Barnabe Peak Trail going up to your left. Over the next 1.75 miles the trail climbs some 1,300 feet, breaking out to an open ridge. You can make a semi- loop out of the hike by veering left on a trail after you’ve curved back to your left on a steep ascent. This trail parallels the road to the top. You can then take the road all the way back down.
Bike: For an excellent park loops take the trail from Irving Picnic Area toward the Madrone Picnic Area and Devils Gulch (don’t cross the highway). At Devils Gulch, ride out to Drake Boulevard and continue for about .25-mile to a bridge that crosses the creek. From there ride the Cross Marin Trail back to the picnic area.