What’s Best: Trails less traveled through woodland, redwoods, and grasslands leading to valley views and a back way to White Hill.
Parking: From Hwy. 101, take Sir Francis Drake Blvd. west of Fairfax to Bothin Rd. on left at 3125 Drake Blvd. Agency: Marin County Open Space District
WHITE HILL MAP SAN FRANCISCO Photo Gallery
Hike: White Hill Fire Road to San Geronimo Valley overlook (1.75 ml.)
The 390-acre White Hill Open Space Preserve is on the eastern end of the San Geronimo Ridge, a narrow greenbelt that connects Loma Alta on the north to Cascade Canyon on the south. A short road, marked by a MCOSD sign, leads to the right, at the entrance to Bothin Youth Center, to the White Hill Fire Road. You begin on switchbacks and then walk a ridgeline, at first through dry scrub and then denser woodland trees. At the upper lip of a redwood and fir forest, bear left at a road junction, and ascend the last of the 600-foot climb. You pop out on open grassland with the verdant San Geronimo Valley spread out below.
Down to your left is Bothin Youth Center at the upper end of which is the eastern portal of a now-blocked North Pacific Coast Railroad tunnel, a passage under the mountain from 1904 to 1933. Lofted above that is the curving, steep top of 1,430-foot White Hill. To continue from the preserve’s boundary gate is the Porcupine Trail, which ascends to the White Hill Fire Road that in turn climbs to the summit. More Stuff: The White Hill Trail climbs through forest, joins the short Sherwood Forest Fire Road, and then connects to the summit route as described above. Parking: For this woodsier hike to the top, park on the left at the bridge, just before Sir Francis Drake Boulevard reaches its summit. The White Hill Road and Trail are part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, which continues across the boulevard at the Loma Alta preserve.