Tiburon Peninsula Historic Trail
On the eastern shore of Richardson Bay, at the intersection of Tiburon Boulevard and Greenwood Beach Road, is a 12-acre public open space called Blackie’s Pasture, dedicated to a celebrated horse named Blackie who grazed here for 28 years. This is where people park to begin hiking the wide, paved, and mostly level Tiburon Peninsula Historic Trail (aka...
On the eastern shore of Richardson Bay, at the intersection of Tiburon Boulevard and Greenwood Beach Road, is a 12-acre public open space called Blackie’s Pasture, dedicated to a celebrated horse named Blackie who grazed here for 28 years. This is where people park to begin hiking the wide, paved, and mostly level Tiburon Peninsula Historic Trail (aka Tiburon Linear Park and Tiburon Bike Path), which runs 2.5 miles along the water through Richardson Bay Park to downtown Tiburon. There’s abundant bird-watching at Richardson Bay, as it hosts more than 1 million migratory birds every year, along with a diverse mix of year-round residents. The trail was once part of a train route bringing food and supplies to Tiburon, as you can learn from interpretive panels along the way. On weekends this scenic trail is heavily used by joggers, hikers, skaters, and cyclists.
Toward the end of the trail, in linear Shoreline Park, is the Tiburon Railroad and Ferry Depot Museum. Constructed in 1885 as part of the San Francisco and North Pacific Tiburon terminal, this depot was the railroad and ferry link to San Francisco until 1967. The ground floor houses a working scale model of the rail yard and ferry terminal as it was in 1909, historic photographs, and artifacts. The second floor (not accessible) has a reconstruction of the stationmaster’s residence.
Tiburon Peninsula Historic Trail, Tiburon Bike Path
Trailhead: Blackie’s Pasture
Length: Over 4 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: LevelThe trail is mostly level, except for a short uphill stretch by McKegney Green and a very steep incline where the asphalt trail connects back to the main trail.
Before heading out on the trail, follow the dirt path on the Bay side of the parking lot that leads to a lovely area where you can get close to the waters of Richardson Bay and admire the views of Sausalito and San Francisco. Waterfowl tend to gather here.
A landscaped area with more than 250 native plants is at the start of the asphalt trail that leads toward downtown Tiburon. A statue of Blackie stands tall off in a field; on my visit, the field surface was firm enough to roll across and get close to the statue. Back on the trail, you cross over a small creek bed on Schapero Bridge (named after the Tiburon town treasurer responsible for protecting Blackie’s Pasture), then pass some restrooms before reaching a junction. Continue uphill on the asphalt trail or, as we did, follow the hard-packed gravel trail for less than .3 miles as it hugs the shoreline; some of the best views are on this stretch. I paused here and enjoyed listening to ducks skittering across the water. McKegney Green, a large grass playing field, is on the inland side. A children’s play area that is tucked against the hillside can be reached from either trail, but access is easiest from the asphalt trail. After the trail curves inland, it climbs a very steep incline and reconnects to the main trail.
Back on the main trail, Bay views soon disappear. Instead you see residences and tennis courts, and hear traffic from nearby Tiburon Boulevard, for the next 1.5 miles. After you cross San Rafael Avenue, trees enclose the trail, providing shade and obscuring nearby residences. At Cove Road, bicycles are directed to an on-street bike lane and pedestrians continue on sidewalks another .5 miles to downtown.
Here you can opt for a lunch break or drinks at one of the waterside cafes along Main Street, or continue a quarter-mile on the trail as it curves along the Bay through Shoreline Park. Grassy areas with benches provide opportunities to stop and admire Angel Island, which looms large across the water. You’ll pass the Railroad and Ferry Museum before you reach the trail’s end at Elephant Rock, which is a few feet offshore and is reached by a ramp. The wooden deck surrounding the rock has small gaps through which you can see the water below.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
At Blackie’s Pasture, along Tiburon Blvd. (south of Lyford Drive), and at Donohue Depot on Paradise Dr.
Accessible restrooms are a few hundred feet past the bridge at Blackie’s Pasture (open sunrise to sunset); by the children’s play area; and on Main Street at the ferry landing for Angel Island. When I visited, an accessible portable unit was at the west end of Paradise Drive.
Located at the children’s playground at McKegney Green and at Blackie's Pasture.
Other Things of Interest
Scheduled passenger ferries to Angel Island leave from 21 Main St. in downtown Tiburon.
Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, January 5, 2014