Dewy at Dawn

Hike to Dawn Falls in Marin County

Redwoods, wooden bridges, a trailside stream, and lush greenery galore … Marin County’s Baltimore Canyon Open Space Preserve has lots of bragging rights, including a terrific 2.4-mile (round-trip) hike to a marquee grotto, Dawn Falls.

From the trailhead at Madrone Avenue, follow the Baltimore Canyon Dawn Falls Trail upstream alongside Larkspur Creek. Baltimore Canyon glistens after rains: a thriving mix of madrone, bay, big-leaf maple, and second-growth redwoods make the forest delightful when damp (just wear proper footwear). The trail meanders mostly flat, with gentle undulations. Cross over charming footbridges and hike among redwoods, including a particularly photo-worthy stand of these sky-reaching beauties. Towards the end of the hike the creek flow may taper a little, and you’ll come to a large rock where the trail veers left and upwards—for a short and steep section (mind your footwork if it’s raining; this can be slick).

Gallery image 1 of 4
Gallery image 2 of 4
Gallery image 3 of 4
Gallery image 4 of 4

Within minutes you’re at the main attraction, Dawn Falls, flowing 30 feet over a rock ledge surrounded by green ferns and mossy flanks. This waterfall has the most gusto after strong rains and loses luster by spring, making winter an ideal time to go. Dawn good hike!

NOTE: Due to recent storms it’s best to check the website before going, to find out any updates on the trails at Baltimore Canyon. From SF, cross the Golden Gate and go north on 101 for 6 miles. Take Tamalpais Dr. exit and head west to Corte Madera Ave./Magnolia Ave. Turn right onto Magnolia and drive half a mile, then left on Madrone Ave. Keep left at the fork, following Madrone Ave. to its end. Trailhead is on the left side. Parking area is very small, with room for just a handful of cars. Because it’s a short hike, patience can pay off for a spot, or drive around the neighborhood to find nearby parking. Map and info available at the trailhead. Dog-friendly! 

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Opt for Oursan

    Hike the trail less traveled in the East Bay's Briones Regional Park. The Oursan Trail is pure serenity on a wide hiking path skirting the northern shores of Briones Reservoir.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Refreshingly Different

    Reno Tahoe is where America’s largest alpine lake meets the Biggest Little City in the World. Easily access the best ski resorts (and hot springs!) and have urban adventures at your fingertips.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Forest Bathe Under the Redwoods

    Giant Douglas firs and a peaceful madrone- and tanoak-studded forest make the hiking at Sanborn County Park sublime, but there’s an added majesty here thanks to the Todd Creek Redwoods Grove.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Seed the Day!

    Redwoods in Orange County? It's true! Find them on this 2-mile loop hike in Brea's Carbon Canyon Regional Park, home to 241 Sequoia sempervirens specimens. The tallest is nearly 100 feet!

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Bodega's Hidden Hike-in Beach

    Bodega Head has a mystical hike-in beach trail through secret sand dunes. Hike in, then enjoy the West's tastiest BBQ brisket on a patio overlooking Bodega Bay Harbor.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Boontime!

    Glamp in a tent cabin or stay in private patio room among redwoods in the heart of Russian River. And do some wine tasting at these two beautiful vineyards with airy cabanas and gorgeous views.

    View