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El Corte Madera Creek El Corte Madera Creek

All Midpen Preserves are open to the public free of charge, 365 days a year from dawn until one-half hour after sunset.

Overview | Directions and Parking | Features | Trails | History | Regulations


Thirty-six miles of multi-use trail are available for exploration at this 2,817-acre Preserve. While this Preserve is extremely popular with bicyclists, it also has lots of hearty hiking and horseback riding opportunities. Visitors to the Preserve will find mixed evergreen and redwood forests, creekside trails, coastal and forest views, and special features, such as rare sandstone formations.


The main parking lot is located on the west side of Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard), about one mile south of the Caltrans Skeggs Point parking area and 2.7 miles north of the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 84.

Get driving directions to the main entrance from Google Maps.

Access to the El Corte de Madera Creek Trail / Tafoni Trail entrance is across Skyline Blvd at the Caltrans Skeggs Point parking area. Parking is available for 25 cars on the east side of Highway 35, about 4 miles north of Highway 84 and 1.5 miles south of Kings Mountain Road. (Please note that Caltrans prohibits a left turn into the lot when approaching from the north)

Get driving directions to Skeggs Point Parking Lot from Google Maps.

Access to the Methuselah Trail entrance is located approximately 2.2 miles south of Kings Mountain Road, very limited roadside parking.

Get driving directions to parking at Methuselah Trail from Google Maps.


El Corte Madera Creek

A rare sandstone formation is located on the Tafoni Trail, a short distance from the Fir Trail. The large sandstone boulders have naturally eroded over thousands of years to create small, shallow caves in the rock, as well as lacy "fretwork" resembling a stone honeycomb. The short trail from the Tafoni Trail to the sandstone features is open to hiking only. The District has built a new access trail and an observation deck at this site. The deck was built not only to preserve the tafoni formations, but the surrounding vegetation as well. The deck allows visitors to view the tafoni and its unique features up close and comfortably, while ensuring this valuable natural resource will remain for years to come.

To reduce erosion and sedimentation at the Preserve, the District created the Watershed Protection Program to protect and restore the watershed. Visitors are required to stay on designated trails. Please note that off trail use is a misdemeanor.


Bridge at the Giant Salamander Trail
Bridge on the Giant Salamander Trail
(Photo by Meredith Manning, MROSD)

The Resolution Trail, a multi-use, single track trail that winds through Corte Madera Canyon, was named for and dedicated to those who lost their lives on the ill-fated DC-6 airplane that crashed here in October 1953. The trail starts below the Vista Point, a knoll off of the Fir Trail that served as the base of rescuer operations following the crash. Please respect this historical site by leaving any artifacts where you find them.

Note: This Preserve is bordered by private property. Please respect the boundaries and stay on designated Preserve trails. Be sure to review Trail Regulations before visiting this Preserve. Also, take a look at the temporary trail closure map posted in the signboard at the trailhead.

Download a map of El Corte Madera Creek Open Space Preserve


As San Francisco flourished following the discovery of gold in California, logging of the coastal redwood forests was needed in order to supply the building materials for the growth. The remote nature of this Preserve, coupled with its steep terrains, kept loggers away until the 1860s. Resourceful entrepreneurs spent the next 50 years building and operating eight different mills along the creek banks of the Preserve. Around the turn of the century, the mills were closed or nearing the end of their economic viability. Modern logging continued off and on until 1988, shortly after the Open Space Preserve was created.


Below is a list of some basic regulations that will help to ensure a safe, enjoyable visit.

  • Hours: Preserves are open a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset.
  • Bicyclists: Bikes are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are required at all times. Please observe the 15-mph trail speed limit (5-mph when passing or approaching blind turns). Download Bicycle Access Guidelinespdf
  • Equestrians: Horses are allowed on designated trails in this Preserve. Helmets are recommended for all equestrians. Riders under 18 years of age are required to wear a helmet on all District land. Download Equestrian Access Guidelinespdf
  • Groups: For safety reasons, permits are required for all groups of 20 or more people.

  • Fires: Fires are prohibited on preserves.

  • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited on preserves.

  • Weapons: Weapons of any kind are prohibited on preserves.

  • Plants and Animals: Please leave plants and animals undisturbed. This not only preserves the natural environment, but is also a safety precaution.

  • Water Areas: Swimming wading, or engaging in any water-contact activity in any water areas of the District is prohibited.
Download District Regulations and Ordinancespdf



Latest News
Ancient Oaks Trail Extension Now Open! The new trail is the final phase of the POST-funded Mindego Gateway Project, and connects the new Mindego Parking Lot with Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve’s popular multi-use trail network.  More>>


Activities at the Preserve

A Sense of Community at ECdMC

El Corte de Madera Creek Tour

Ideas for...



Mountain Bikers

Trail Conditions

The new staging area is OPEN!

The section of the Sierra Morena Trail between the new lot and gate CM04 is CLOSED permanently. Please visit the Preserve page for more information. Thank you for your patience during the time required to get the staging area open.

The Methuselah Trail, from the Giant Salamander Trail to the South Leaf Trail, is CLOSED to equestrians due to trail damage.

The South Leaf and North Leaf Trails are OPEN to bicyclists and equestrians.

The Methuselah Trail where it crosses El Corte de Madera Creek will have equipment working in the area to install a new bridge but the trail should be open during the work.

The Steam Donkey Trail near Skyline Boulevard is undergoing some major renovations involving new water bars, but will remain open.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that seasonal trail closures may change from day to day without notice, based on changing weather conditions. Also note that during winter storm season high waters can make creek crossings hazardous, so plan your outing accordingly.

Last updated on: 5/7/2015

Additional Information

El Corte de Madera Watershed Protection Program

Trail Regulations

El Corte de Madera Creek Seasonal Trail Closure Map

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