Five Fantastic Fall Family Hikes in Marin

September 12, 2016

Tennessee Valley Trail

Fall offers some of the finest weather of the year in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area, so make sure you take some time to hit the trail and take in a hike before the weather turns cold and wet. The coastal areas in Northern California are particularly nice in the fall, and are often warmer and clearer than inland.

Here are five of our favorite fall outdoor excursions in Marin County that are perfect for families.

Tennessee Valley

The Tennessee Valley trail is one of Marin's most popular spots for outdoor recreation, and a favorite with hikers, cyclists, and trail runners of all ages. This easy 3.4-mile out-and-back hike has its halfway point at Tennessee Cove, home to a beautiful beach that's a perfect place for a picnic or mid-hike break. It's manageable with an offroad jogging stroller, too. Go during the week or in the mornings to avoid weekend crowds in the parking area.

Bear Valley at Point Reyes National Seashore

The Point Reyes National Seashore part heaquarters near Olema boasts not only an educational visitor center, but several wonderful hikes for all different levels. Learn about the Bay Area's seismic history on the Earthquake Trail, hike to the reconstructed Miwok village Kule Loklo, or learn about the area's natural history on the Woodpecker Trail. You can also walk to a horse farm or try out a longer hike on the Bear Valley Trail. Bonus: The weather out here is often sunny and warm in the fall.

Bear Valley Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park

This island off Tiburon loses its summer tourist crowds during the fall, but there's still plenty for families to do, especially through the month of October when there's live music and good food in Ayala Cove on weekends. Hike or ride your bike to historic sites that dot the island, which was home to a Civil War-era army camp, a US Immigration Station, and more.

Olompali State Historic Park

Just north of Novato at the foot of Mt. Burdell, Olompali State Historic Park offers miles of hiking trails, a reconstructed Coast Miwok village, picnic areas and more. A visitor center in the 1870s frame house offers a look at the history of the Olompali, the site of a Native American community, a Mexican-era rancho, a lavish Edwardian mansion, and even a hippie commune. Note that there's the new, easier, and safer entrance to the park off Redwood Boulevard in Novato.

Historic barn at Olompali State Historic ParkSlide Ranch

Slide Ranch

Sited dramatically on the bluffs above Muir Beach, this former dairy ranch and hands-on education center offers numerous opportunities for family hikes. Clamber down to the beach to explore the tidepools, or hike through the ranch and say "hi" to some of the resident goats, sheep, chickens, and bees. The picnic area overlooking the Pacific Ocean has to be one of the most spectacular places to eat lunch anywhere!