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Rush Creek Open Space Preserve

Having wondered for many years about the expanse of marsh I could see from Highway 101 north of Novato, I finally investigated, and was delightfully surprised. Rush Creek Preserve is 522-acres of wooded and grassy hills alongside two contiguous marshes, which are managed by the California Department of Fish and Game, and turn out to be more...
Having wondered for many years about the expanse of marsh I could see from Highway 101 north of Novato, I finally investigated, and was delightfully surprised. Rush Creek Preserve is 522-acres of wooded and grassy hills alongside two contiguous marshes, which are managed by the California Department of Fish and Game, and turn out to be more extensive than they seemed from the highway. Some Preserve trails run near subdivisions alongside the access roads and don’t seem very interesting, but following Bahia Trail from the east end, we were able to walk for a beautiful 1.5 mile or so on slopes alongside the Petaluma River Marsh, among oaks, bays and manzanitas. Acorn woodpeckers and California quail called in the woods while out on the water clusters of wading birds and ducks could be seen.

Rush Creek Marsh is seen from Highway 101, and another trail, Pinheiro Fire Road, goes about 1.5 miles along its shore, starting near the freeway exit. It may have better wheelchair access than Bahia Trail; I look forward to finding out, and attempting to combine both travels to traverse the entire shoreline.

A third route, Bahia Ridge Trail, might make a nice loop with Bahia Trail, but likely entails some serious climbing and negotiating the sloping terrain.

Trail/Pathway Details

Bahia Trail

Trailhead: East end of Bahia Drive

Length: 2-4 total miles

Typical Width: 30 in. to 4 ft.

There are no places narrower than 30”, although ruts and roots sometimes pose challenges.

Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle

There are a lot of moderately steep sections and some cross-slope. This trail will be a workout for an unassisted manual wheelchair user, but power chairs should be fine.

Terrain: Moderately Firm

Though there are some rough spots, most of this trail is well-graded, hard composite. Some areas would be muddy after any rain.

Description

I found this trail a treat, and went most of the way to Cemetery Marsh. It is moderately challenging, but appears to be well maintained, and it is very pleasant to travel on a narrow path that wanders over little ridges and across shallow streambeds. Because it is little-used (mid-week on a sunny, winter day we saw 3 other hikers in two hours) the width is not uncomfortable.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Street parking at the end of Bahia Drive

Accessible Restroom:

There are no restrooms at this location

Reviewed by Ann Sieck, March 27, 2015

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Bahia Trail
Bahia Trail (Dan Hill)

Features icon key

  • hiking
  • wildlife viewing

Additional Information

View Map  
Website: www.marincountyparks.org/depts/pk/divisions/open-space/rush-creek
Managing Agency: Marin County Parks and Open Space
Address: East end of Bahia Drive
Nearest City: Novato
Phone: (415) 473-2816
Hours: Open at all times
Fees: None
Dogs: On leash
Public Transportation: Golden Gate Transit

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