The Corte Madera Creek Path has two main parts. One section connects downtown Ross to Bon Air Road and the other emerges behind the Bon Air Shopping Center to Larkspur Landing. The portion upstream from Bon Air Road has been closed since Sept. 7 for work on a pipeline and recently reopened with wider and smoother concrete.
Although the length of this path is only a few miles, its connection to numerous parks, paths and schools make it a vital link for trail users of all ages. Notable destinations along the path include Ross Elementary, College of Marin, Kent Middle School, Bacich Elementary, Marin Catholic High School, Bon Air Shopping Center and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. Of the parks along this path the nicest is the newly renovated Hal Brown Park with its modern playground.
Directly across from Marin General Hospital sits this hidden jewel. Snuggly nestled between the marshes of Creekside Park and Bon Air Landing Park, Marin County Parks Department boasts that Hal Brown Park features "something for all ages." The picnic tables, fields, small amphitheater, landscaping with medicinal plants and benches overlooking the wetlands are great but the most exciting feature is the super fun playground!
The new playground integrates beautifully into the natural surroundings with giant ducks to sit on and a water-play element that resembles a creek. One play structure is built into the hillside while down below a small dock extends over the marsh. Smooth black pavement winds in all directions, just begging for scooters, bikes and strollers. Older kids enjoy the 8 foot climbing wall and 17 foot climbing net. The crazy spinning cups might be America's new merry-go-rounds, but my favorite part is the tricycle track with traffic signs for the little cyclists.
Behind the playground a path continues directly to Bacich Elementary, near the intersection of Wolfe Grade and Sir Frances Drake. A park like this is an invaluable resource to nearby schools and residents.
Back on the creek path and back on the bike, a side trip up Lagunitas Rd from Ross can take you to Natalie Coffin Greene Park and Phoenix Lake. The short climb to the lake rewards you with benches and often a tranquil sense of isolation.
On the opposite end of the path, a short side trip from Larkspur Landing will take you into San Rafael through the the new Cal Park Hill Tunnel.
During the few months that the creek path was closed I realized how import these places are to connect us with our public spaces. I am giddy to have my scenic shortcut back!
When the Corte Madera Creek Path is combined with others in Larkspur and Corte Madera you can extend your journey for hours of car-free and carefree riding.
This report on the reopening of the Corte Madera Creek Path and Hal Brown Park is the first of a bimonthly column. I will bring you the dish on bikes, paths, parks, and open space every other Saturday. If you have any suggestions or questions drop me a line!