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El Corte Madera Creek El Corte Madera Creek

All Midpen Preserves are open to the public free of charge, 365 days a year from dawn until one-half hour after sunset.

New Staging Area Open!

District staff is proud to announce that construction of the new Staging Area and extension of the Sierra Morena Trail has been completed.

Parking Lot Open

The Staging Area includes:

  • 65 Parking Spaces
  • 4 Equestrian Parking Spaces
  • Vault Toilet Restrooms
  • Bike Rack
  • Sign Boards
  • Direct Connection to the Preserve’s Trail Network

The new Staging Area is located on Skyline Boulevard, 1 mile south of Skeggs Point, and is open ½ hour before dawn, and closes 1/2 hour after sunset.

The section of trail between Gates CM03 and CM04 is permanently CLOSED to public access due to the site modifications, including the large bioretention basin, that were needed to address the drainage on site. When the staging area is open, visitors can use the new segment of the Sierra Morena Trail. Off-trail use is prohibited (Ordinance 04-01).

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

El Corte Madera Creek

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.

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.

Preserve Trails

Bridge at the Giant Salamander Trail
Bridge on the Giant Salamander Trail
(Photo by Meredith Manning, MROSD)

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.


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. The District has built a new access trail and an observation deck at this site. The deck was built not only to preserve the tafoni formations, but the surrounding vegetation as well. The deck allows visitors to view the tafoni and its unique features up close and comfortably, while ensuring this valuable natural resource will remain for years to come.

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.


Visitors may park at the new Preserve parking area 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 or at the Caltrans Skeggs Point parking area on the east side of Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard), about 4 miles north of Highway 84 (La Honda Road) 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 along Skyline Blvd.) From there, the El Corte de Madera Creek Trail / Tafoni Trail entrance is slightly to the north and across Skyline Blvd. Very limited roadside parking on Skyline Blvd. and access to the Methuselah Trail entrance is located approximately 2.2 miles south of Kings Mountain Road; limited parking on Skyline Blvd. and access to the Gordon Mill Trail is approximately 2.7 miles south of Kings Mountain Road.

Download a map of El Corte Madera Creek Open Space Preserve

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Mountain Bikers

Trail Conditions

The new staging area is OPEN!

The section of the Sierra Morena Trail between the new lot and gate CM04 is CLOSED permanently. Please visit the Preserve page for more information. Thank you for your patience during the time required to get the staging area open.

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.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that seasonal trail closures may change from day to day without notice, based on changing weather conditions. Also note that during winter storm season high waters can make creek crossings hazardous, so plan your outing accordingly.

Last updated on: 6/20/2014

Additional Information

El Corte de Madera Watershed Protection Program

Trail Regulations

El Corte de Madera Creek Seasonal Trail Closure Map

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