Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Restrooms

Overview

More than 36 miles of multi-use trail are available for exploration at this 2,817-acre Preserve. While extremely popular with bicyclists, it also has lots of hearty hiking and horseback riding opportunities. Visitors will find mixed evergreen and redwood forests, creekside trails, coastal and forest views, and special features, such as rare sandstone formations.

Please note: This Preserve is closed to all off trail use.

Bike and Equestrian Access Limited: Activities may not be designated on all trails within the Preserve-- always refer to the map and trail signage for where the activity is permitted. No Dogs Allowed.

There will be extensive trail work and closures during 2015 on the remaining moderate and high priority Watershed Protection Program road and trail projects within the El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve.  This work is planned to occur between May and October, 2015.  It will result in some closures and or delays when using trails within the preserve.  Please see the Trail Work and Closures Map for the dates of anticipated closures.  When possible trails will be kept open but do not count on being able to use any of the trails during the dates they are anticipated to be closed.

Gallery

Features

  • Tafoni Sandstone Formation - A rare sandstone formation is located on the Tafoni Trail, a short distance from the Fir Trail. The large sandstone boulders have naturally eroded over thousands of years to create small, shallow caves in the rock, as well as lacy "fretwork" resembling a stone honeycomb. The short trail from the Tafoni Trail to the sandstone features is open to hiking only. Please help the District preserve this valuable natural resource; remain on the observation deck and do not climb on the formations.
  • Watershed Protection Area - El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve is located in the upper headwaters of the San Gregorio Creek Watershed, which provides critical habitat for steelhead trout and coho salmon. To reduce erosion and sedimentation at the Preserve, the District created the Watershed Protection Program to protect and restore the watershed. Visitors are required to stay on designated trails. Please note that off trail use is a misdemeanor.

Directions

Main Parking

  • Located on the west side of Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard), about one mile south of the Caltrans Skeggs Point parking area and 2.7 miles north of the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 84.

Get driving directions:

 

 


Skeggs Point Parking Lot

Access to the El Corte de Madera Creek Trail / Tafoni Trail entrance

  • Located across Skyline Blvd at the Caltrans Skeggs Point parking area.
  • Parking is available for 25 cars on the east side of Highway 35, about 4 miles north of Highway 84 and 1.5 miles south of Kings Mountain Road. (Please note that Caltrans prohibits a left turn into the lot when approaching from the north)

Get driving directions to Skeggs Point Parking Lot:

 


Methuselah Trail Entrance

  • Located approximately 2.2 miles south of Kings Mountain Road, very limited roadside parking.

Trails

There will be extensive trail work and closures during 2015 on the remaining moderate and high priority Watershed Protection Program road and trail projects within the El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve.  This work is planned to occur between May and October, 2015.  It will result in some closures and or delays when using trails within the preserve.  Please see the Trail Work and Closures Map for the dates of anticipated closures.  When possible trails will be kept open but do not count on being able to use any of the trails during the dates they are anticipated to be closed.

The Resolution Trail - a multi-use, single track trail that winds through Corte Madera Canyon, was named for and dedicated to those who lost their lives on the ill-fated DC-6 airplane that crashed here in October 1953. The trail starts below the Vista Point, a knoll off of the Fir Trail that served as the base of rescuer operations following the crash. Please respect this historical site by leaving any artifacts where you find them.

The Manzanita Trail - This trail travels through an area of endemic, or local Kings Mountain manzanita. Surrounded by this unique hilltop "resident", visitors will find top-of-the-world views toward the San Mateo Coast. 

Timberview Trail - Take this Trail to visit one of the Preserve's remaining old growth redwoods. The massive coast redwood is approximately 50 feet in circumference at its base and stands so tall there is barely enough room to stand back and appreciate its height.

Note: This Preserve is bordered by private property. Please respect the boundaries and stay on designated Preserve trails. Be sure to review Trail Regulations before visiting this Preserve. Also, take a look at the temporary trail closure map posted in the signboard at the trailhead.

Trail Conditions

  • The section of the Sierra Morena Trail between the new lot and gate CM04 is CLOSED permanently.
  • The Methuselah Trail, from the Giant Salamander Trail to the South Leaf Trail, is CLOSED to equestrians due to trail damage.
  • The South Leaf and North Leaf Trails are OPEN to bicyclists and equestrians.
  • The Methuselah Trail where it crosses El Corte de Madera Creek has 2 new bridges and is OPEN for hikers and bicyclists -- remains CLOSED to equestrians.
  • The El Corte de Madera Creek Trail and Resolution Trail work is completed for 2015 and both trails are OPEN.
  • The Blue Blossom Trail is now CLOSED for major renovations until Spring 2016.
  • Download El Corte de Madera Creek OSP Trail Work and Closures Map

History

As San Francisco flourished following the discovery of gold in California, logging of the coastal redwood forests was needed in order to supply the building materials for the growth. The remote nature of this Preserve, coupled with its steep terrains, kept loggers away until the 1860s. Resourceful entrepreneurs spent the next 50 years building and operating eight different mills along the creek banks of the Preserve. Around the turn of the century, the mills were closed or nearing the end of their economic viability. Modern logging continued off and on until 1988, shortly after the Open Space Preserve was created.

Be watchful when visiting the Preserve. With a good eye, telltale signs of past history are still evident. Visitors might notice a flattened pad where a mill or cabin once stood, or the rusted remains of heavy equipment, abandoned here when the mills were no longer economical to operate. Numerous logging roads are still evident, most of which comprise the trails in the Preserve. 

Regulations

  • Hours: Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required for all riders at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves. 
     
  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Overview

More than 36 miles of multi-use trail are available for exploration at this 2,817-acre Preserve. While extremely popular with bicyclists, it also has lots of hearty hiking and horseback riding opportunities. Visitors will find mixed evergreen and redwood forests, creekside trails, coastal and forest views, and special features, such as rare sandstone formations.

Please note: This Preserve is closed to all off trail use.

Bike and Equestrian Access Limited: Activities may not be designated on all trails within the Preserve-- always refer to the map and trail signage for where the activity is permitted. No Dogs Allowed.

There will be extensive trail work and closures during 2015 on the remaining moderate and high priority Watershed Protection Program road and trail projects within the El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve.  This work is planned to occur between May and October, 2015.  It will result in some closures and or delays when using trails within the preserve.  Please see the Trail Work and Closures Map for the dates of anticipated closures.  When possible trails will be kept open but do not count on being able to use any of the trails during the dates they are anticipated to be closed.

Photo Gallery

Features

  • Tafoni Sandstone Formation - A rare sandstone formation is located on the Tafoni Trail, a short distance from the Fir Trail. The large sandstone boulders have naturally eroded over thousands of years to create small, shallow caves in the rock, as well as lacy "fretwork" resembling a stone honeycomb. The short trail from the Tafoni Trail to the sandstone features is open to hiking only. Please help the District preserve this valuable natural resource; remain on the observation deck and do not climb on the formations.
  • Watershed Protection Area - El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve is located in the upper headwaters of the San Gregorio Creek Watershed, which provides critical habitat for steelhead trout and coho salmon. To reduce erosion and sedimentation at the Preserve, the District created the Watershed Protection Program to protect and restore the watershed. Visitors are required to stay on designated trails. Please note that off trail use is a misdemeanor.

Main Parking

  • Located on the west side of Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard), about one mile south of the Caltrans Skeggs Point parking area and 2.7 miles north of the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 84.

Get driving directions:

 

 


Skeggs Point Parking Lot

Access to the El Corte de Madera Creek Trail / Tafoni Trail entrance

  • Located across Skyline Blvd at the Caltrans Skeggs Point parking area.
  • Parking is available for 25 cars on the east side of Highway 35, about 4 miles north of Highway 84 and 1.5 miles south of Kings Mountain Road. (Please note that Caltrans prohibits a left turn into the lot when approaching from the north)

Get driving directions to Skeggs Point Parking Lot:

 


Methuselah Trail Entrance

  • Located approximately 2.2 miles south of Kings Mountain Road, very limited roadside parking.

Trails

There will be extensive trail work and closures during 2015 on the remaining moderate and high priority Watershed Protection Program road and trail projects within the El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve.  This work is planned to occur between May and October, 2015.  It will result in some closures and or delays when using trails within the preserve.  Please see the Trail Work and Closures Map for the dates of anticipated closures.  When possible trails will be kept open but do not count on being able to use any of the trails during the dates they are anticipated to be closed.

The Resolution Trail - a multi-use, single track trail that winds through Corte Madera Canyon, was named for and dedicated to those who lost their lives on the ill-fated DC-6 airplane that crashed here in October 1953. The trail starts below the Vista Point, a knoll off of the Fir Trail that served as the base of rescuer operations following the crash. Please respect this historical site by leaving any artifacts where you find them.

The Manzanita Trail - This trail travels through an area of endemic, or local Kings Mountain manzanita. Surrounded by this unique hilltop "resident", visitors will find top-of-the-world views toward the San Mateo Coast. 

Timberview Trail - Take this Trail to visit one of the Preserve's remaining old growth redwoods. The massive coast redwood is approximately 50 feet in circumference at its base and stands so tall there is barely enough room to stand back and appreciate its height.

Note: This Preserve is bordered by private property. Please respect the boundaries and stay on designated Preserve trails. Be sure to review Trail Regulations before visiting this Preserve. Also, take a look at the temporary trail closure map posted in the signboard at the trailhead.

Trail Conditions

  • The section of the Sierra Morena Trail between the new lot and gate CM04 is CLOSED permanently.
  • The Methuselah Trail, from the Giant Salamander Trail to the South Leaf Trail, is CLOSED to equestrians due to trail damage.
  • The South Leaf and North Leaf Trails are OPEN to bicyclists and equestrians.
  • The Methuselah Trail where it crosses El Corte de Madera Creek has 2 new bridges and is OPEN for hikers and bicyclists -- remains CLOSED to equestrians.
  • The El Corte de Madera Creek Trail and Resolution Trail work is completed for 2015 and both trails are OPEN.
  • The Blue Blossom Trail is now CLOSED for major renovations until Spring 2016.
  • Download El Corte de Madera Creek OSP Trail Work and Closures Map

As San Francisco flourished following the discovery of gold in California, logging of the coastal redwood forests was needed in order to supply the building materials for the growth. The remote nature of this Preserve, coupled with its steep terrains, kept loggers away until the 1860s. Resourceful entrepreneurs spent the next 50 years building and operating eight different mills along the creek banks of the Preserve. Around the turn of the century, the mills were closed or nearing the end of their economic viability. Modern logging continued off and on until 1988, shortly after the Open Space Preserve was created.

Be watchful when visiting the Preserve. With a good eye, telltale signs of past history are still evident. Visitors might notice a flattened pad where a mill or cabin once stood, or the rusted remains of heavy equipment, abandoned here when the mills were no longer economical to operate. Numerous logging roads are still evident, most of which comprise the trails in the Preserve. 

  • Hours: Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required for all riders at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). For more information visit the Bicycle Access page.
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. For more information visit the Equestrian Access page.
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.
  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.
     
  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves. 
     
  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution. 
     
  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.

Download District Regulations and Ordinances

Download Preserve Map

Preserve Info

Hiking
Biking
Equestrian
Restrooms

Hours

Open dawn to one-half hour after sunset.

Preserve Activities

October 8, 2015
November 5, 2015
November 22, 2015