Phoenix Lake

  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking


  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking


Foot of Lagunitas Road
San Francisco Bay Area
Info: 415-945-1181
Sunrise to Sunset
On leash
Last Visited:
December 2017
In 1912, the Marin Municipal Water District created seven reservoirs on the eastern slope of Mt. Tamalpais to provide water to the residents of Marin County, while also creating a vast network of rugged trails and fire roads. One of these reservoirs, Phoenix Lake, connects to a popular multi-use fire road near the upscale hamlet of Ross. The area is enjoyed by joggers, hikers, horses and a plethora of mountain bikes. Despite its heavy usage, everyone shares the trail respectively. Just be aware of your surroundings and others on the trail.

Trails and Pathways

Phoenix Lake Road
Time to Complete:
2 hours
Trail Length:
1-2 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Typical Terrain:
Moderately Firm
Trailhead Location: From the eastern side of the parking area (furthest from the toilets) cross a small metal bridge to reach the trailhead. Another trail leaves from the picnic area but the spur trail leading to the fire road is slightly eroded and unstable for wheelchairs.
Trail Overview: The initial ascent from the parking lot to the lake is quite steep and has some loose gravel. Power chairs can navigate it easily, but manual chairs will most likely need assistance. As you climb, you can look left to see the picnic area.  California bays, oaks, buckeyes, and madrones line the trail. After the initial climb, the trail levels out and you will be rewarded with a serene view of Phoenix Lake. Next to the lake is a rest area with a few benches, and though it lacks picnic tables, this is a nice spot to relax and enjoy your lunch with a view. From here, you can continue north along the road following signs toward Lake Lagunitas; it is mostly level with a few short hills. The most challenging part of this section is navigating the occasional patch of loose gravel. Along this route you will see a few houses that are for park staff and also the Log Cabin. The Log Cabin, which was built in the late 19th century out of redwoods, is currently under restoration and once restored, it will be available for public use. There are interpretative panels detailing the history and the restoration project.


The trail is hardened dirt and can become muddy after the rain. It had rained a few days prior to my visit and after a mile, we came across a section that was too muddy to pass. According to one mud splattered mountain biker heading south past us, it was strictly four wheel drive ahead. If the road was dry, one can choose to veer left onto Fish Grade road and continue to climb into a more densely forested area that will eventually meet up with the main road to Lake Lagunitas or Shaver Grade is off to the right but I did not explore it. To continue exploring It's advisable that you have a power chair with good bottom clearance or a strong companion. I went mid-afternoon in early December. I recommend to bring layers as the winter sun can move quickly, making the once warm and suuny trail, cool and shady on the return.




More Info: May be impassable after rain.

Accessibility Features

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;

Two spaces are on either end of the trailhead. Parking is limited and tends to fill up early on weekends and early afternoon weekdays. Be prepared to wait.







Accessible Restroom:
Yes – parking lot, Located by the accessible parking space..
Yes – lakeside

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance

Other Things of Interest:
The other water district reservoirs are accessed closer to Fairfax but have not been reviewed for accessibility; Lake Lagunitas is known to have a picturesque picnic area. Map of the watershed district.

Good to Know:
Google maps will not directly you properly. Use the following directions: From US 101 in Marin County, exit San Anselmo/Sir Francis Drake. Drive west on Sir Francis Drake about 3.5 miles to the intersection with Lagunitas Road (by the Marin Art and Garden Center), turn left onto Lagunitas and drive about 1 mile to the parking lot at the end of the road.

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