When wildflower season starts to wane, don’t tell Ring Mountain. The tiny but mighty open space preserve on the Tiburon Peninsula can often exhibit a wide range of wildflowers late into the season, not to mention one of the most jaw-dropping views of the bay. Take a nice, moderate 2.5-mile hike on the Loop and Phyllis Ellman trails and be glad that its 367 acres weren’t turned into McMansions, thanks in part to the Nature Conservancy.
Starting from the trailhead on Paradise Drive, the trail dips, dives, and climbs across grassy slopes, through coast live oaks, and up to a windswept ridge where you’ll find Turtle Rock, a popular boulder for rock climbers.
Take a quick breather near the rock, or climb to its top. Either way, you’ll enjoy a great vantage, with San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, Sausalito, and the tips of the Golden Gate Bridge all in view across the bay.
Directions: From Hwy. 101 in Corte Madera, take the Paradise Dr. exit. Go east for 1.5 miles. The entrance to the park is on the right side of the road. Park on a dirt pullout along the road. At the first fork in the trail, go left onto the Loop Trail. At the second fork, go right onto the fainter (and unmarked) trail. This takes you up to Turtle Rock. From there, head west on the fire road for a short distance, then turn right onto the Phyllis Ellman Trail. This takes you back to the trailhead. For more information, directions, and a map, visit Ring Mountain’s website. Dog-friendly!