Getting To The Top Of Red Hill!

I’ve driven past Red Hill in San Anselmo literally hundreds of times since I was a child. I grew up in Kentfield which is very close. My mother liked to go to St. Anselm’s church in San Anselmo which borders Ross.

My mother would visit Red Hill Shopping center to get things at Longs Drugs (now CVS) back in the day. She would shop and I would look at the vnyl records in front of the camera film processing area. It’s where I first discovered the ACDC Highway To Hell album and other rock and roll bands like Led Zeppelin.

My grandmother also lived in San Anselmo for a while. I would do yard work and visit her often. I can’t believe they sold her homes back in the early 80s for next to nothing!

Anyway, as a result I found myself staring at Red Hill when we drove to the shopping center. I would always wonder what was on top. Continue reading

Dawn Falls Corte Madera Hike!

When you visit downtown Larkspur or anywhere in central Marin you wouldn’t think there would be any real hikes nearby because there are so many streets and homes. But if you know where to look you’ll discover quite a few great hikes.

Dawn Falls is one such hike. It is one of the most beautiful trails in Marin.

Dawn Falls is a small waterfall deep in Larkspur’s Madrone Canyon. The trail that leads to the falls, and well beyond, is called Dawn Falls trailhead. You can find it quite easily on Google Maps.

There are a few ways to begin your wonderful journey. You can take Piedmont Trail which begins on Piedmont Road. It is a little known trail head that is in a residential area. This route will make your hike or run a bit longer but you’ll enjoy it. Or you can drive along Madrone Avenue (AKA Madrone Canyon), a very narrow winding road, and park your car at the end (it is hard to find parking here and turning around is not fun.

Halfway along the trail to Dawn Falls.

Either way you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous redwood trees and ferns. The trail itself run’s alongside Larkspur Creek. Continue reading

Corte Madera Ridge

If you are in need of a quiet hike that most people don’t know about, or if you want a good mountain bike ride you should consider Corte Madera Ridge.

If you are ambitious you can start your journey at the Corte Madera Square and then walk up the Hill Path stairs. You’ll most likely get tired from the stairs unless you are in good physical condition. They are hard to find if you don’t know where to look. Find Stephanos Pizza and there is a path to the left of it. This path leads to a the stairwell.

The stairs will end at Redwood Avenue again. Walk until you see another set of stairs and/or a sign that says Spring Trail. It goes right up along side a home so it looks like it’s private property but it’s not. Spring Trail is another stairwell that will take you close to the top of Summit Drive.

Looking down the stairs, near the top of Spring Trail.

After you walk up Spring Trail stairs, walk up Summit Drive until you get to a dead end and a private road. This is where you will see a gate, a fire road to the left of the gate, and a trail that leads up to the right of the gate. Continue reading

Point Reyes Station!

I remember one of my first experiences driving through Point Reyes Station many years ago, in the early 1980’s. I felt like I was passing through time, going straight into the 1960’s and beyond. I remember seeing a few small shops and old buildings with very few people around. What stood out to me at tat time was a store or two that had tie die shirts and ribbons blowing about in the light wind. For twenty years that is how I remembered it; a small hippy town. Continue reading

Olema Lime Stone Kilns Secret Spot!

Every day hundreds of people drive past an abandoned lime stone kiln that was built in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s, just south of Olema on Shoreline Highway.

If I remember correctly it’s about three miles south, and on the west side of Shoreline Highway between Olema Creek and the road. There’s a trail leads down to the spot from the road.

I went in the summer time, and there was quite a bit of poison ivy in the area so keep that in mind. However, it may be worth a visit if you like old abandoned structures such as the Olema Lime Stone Kilns. Continue reading

Schellville Station Abandoned Train!

schellville-signIn Sonoma California where 8th Street East and Highway 12 intersect there is an old abandoned railroad station and old town called Schellville.

If you have ever driven to Sonoma or Napa and have taken Highway 12 you have bumped across the railroad tracks, and probably noticed a light blue building which is the old train station.

This is the old train station on the North side of Highway 12 sitting along side the tracks, as expected. Continue reading

Mill Valley Air Force Station!

mill-valley-air-force-station-signNear the top of Mount Tamalpais is an abandoned air force base called the Mill Valley Air Force Station.

If you were driving up to the peak of Mount Tam you would never notice it’s whereabouts unless you were looking for it, or stumbled upon it as you hike on the trails in this area.

One of the reasons many people don’t know it’s there is because they are probably distracted by the large white satellite globe which is in the vicinity. That is a restricted area.

There are several ways to get to the abandoned Mill Valley Air Force Station.

Mountain Top trail which begins at the Quarry Parking Lot takes you there, or you can take Arturo trail which branches off of North Side Trail and Lagunitas Rock Spring Road takes you there as well.

Another option is to drive and park off of Ridgcrest Blvd. You’ll see a sign for the Air Force Station (see the red sign above). You’ll walk on the old paved road on the left because the one on the right is closed to the public and it takes you to the actual Radar Station.

road-to-base

This is the old road leading up the the main base. The road to the radar station is just behind me. Arturo trail is just to the right. You can see the sign post on the middle lower right of the photo.

Abandoned Mill Valley Air Force Station

Aerial view of the base looking west. The radar station is behind just behind me.

 

Abandoned in 1981, the Mill Valley Air Force Station was an active radar station for the Air Force for at least 30 years. Continue reading

Wingo Ghost Town!

wingo-sign

Wingo is a tiny ghost town in the middle of the Sonoma Valley Marshland. This area is  like a desert, but a marsh desert, if that makes any sense. It’s a place you would never go unless you were an adventurer looking for ghost towns, abandoned buildings, or doing railroad research. In other words, you are probably a weirdo like me (ha!).

So What’s The History Behind Wingo The Ghost Town?

Wingo is a tiny little town that resides along the Sonoma Valley Creek. It that was built as a destination for barges that would unload cargo and passengers which were going to or from San Francisco via the Sonoma Valley Creek.

In the midsign-wingo-directions19 century a man by the name of Joseph S. Khon wanted to build a mono rail. He saw one in action in Cincinnati which was called a Crew Prismoidal One-Rail System, and he wanted this same type built on Market Street in San Francisco, but it didn’t work out.

Back in the 1860’s the people of Sonoma wanted a railway because they were desperate to have transportation would to take them to a steamboat landing in the Sonoma Valley Marsh area (Wingo).

Why a steamboat landing? Because a steamboat was a means of transportation to and from San Francisco.

So Wingo was created for purposes of the steamboat landing. And since Mr. Khon had the idea of building a mono rail system to take people to this steamboat landing he was eventually granted approval to build a rail system that would take people to Wingo. Continue reading

Ammo Hill!

ammo-hill-map-1Ammo Hill is a small hill right in the middle of Novato California. It’s part of Hamilton Air Force Base, and it’s set quite a distance away from the hangers and airfield (and which mostly are office buildings and residential homes).

The road leading to Ammo hill, or the road that goes up the hill and traverses it was once called Igloo Hill Road. Using simple deduction Ammo hill was probably called Igloo Hill. And it seems to make sense since it look a bit like an Igloo. Continue reading

Carson Falls!

Carson falls is a unique waterfall in the Mount Tamalpais watershed area. The hike to get there is beautiful, with sweeping 360 degree views.

The waterfall itself is unique and quirky, but it’s gorgeous and worth the short hike to get there.

Directions: take the Fairfax Bolinas Road to the Azelia Hill Trail parking area. Directly across the parking lot and across the street is Pine Mountain Fire Road. Take Pine Mountain until you get to Oat Hill Road to Carson Falls Trail.

You can hike all the way, or you can take your bike. But if you take your bike you are not allowed to ride on the Carson Falls Trail. You can only hike down to it on this beautiful trail.

This is photo is a view looking South East from Pine Mountain Fire Road. Notice Mount Tam in the background to the right, and the Meadow Club in the middle left.

pine-mountain-fire-road-2

A little further up Pine Mountain fire road I took this nice shot. Continue reading