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Redwoods Provide Heat Relief for Indian Tree Preserve Hikers

Ship's Mast Trail provides relief for weary hikers searching for a shady trail after a strenous hike up Indian Tree Trail.

The summer is hot and hikers are eager to find shady trails, in order to pursue their passion for hiking.

Two strenous shady hiking trails are Indian Tree and Ship's Mast trails. To access these trails, drive to the west end of Vineyard Road until the paved road turns to dirt, then look for the trailhead on the south side of the road.

Take a short walk on the Meadow Trail and then take a left on the Indian Tree Trail. The Marin County Open Space has recently renovated the many switchbacks transversing on the Indian Tree Trail and through the preserve.

After several miles, you will encounter Ship's Mast Trail on the left. The 2.13-mile trail gradually takes you across the north-facing slope of the Indian Tree Preserve. Enjoy the drop in temperature due to the abundant shade of the towering redwoods and the moist ground where ferns grow even in the driest of summers.

There are at least four redwood groves along the way, all very different. One grove was affected by a fire. One grove appears to be planted with saplings all striving to reach the sun. Another grove is old growth, where the mother tree reaches out in a circle to nurture its future.

You can either retrace your steps once you reach the Indian Tree Fire Road or take a short hike up the fire road and it meets up with Big Tree Trail. If you decide to take the Big Tree Trail home, do not miss the gorgeous views of San Pablo Bay, Stafford Lake and the Indian Valley Golf Course.

Enjoy the trail!

Regina Bianucci Rus CPA August 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Darn it, Sue. This place is fantastic and you've revealed what few people seem to know. We are so lucky to live here!
Andrew R August 16, 2012 at 05:24 PM
such a beautiful trail, we hike it almost weekly
Sue McQuinn August 16, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Sorry Regina. I love to share my favorite trails.
Sue McQuinn August 16, 2012 at 08:04 PM
A reader asked if the trail was dog friendly. If you view the last photo, the sign posted mentions dogs on leash, since it is a single track trail. Equestrians, hikers okay, but no bikes.
Brent Ainsworth August 16, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I've never been to the top of the ridge -- always started my hikes too late in the day. Some day I want to get up there and check out those views.

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