Monday, May 26, 2014

60 Hikes in 60 Miles in 60 Weeks: Week Thirty-nine
Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve
Tiburon mariposa lily on Phyllis Ellman Trail at Ring Mountain 

What it's like:
Just over 2 miles up and down a rock-strewn grassy hill near Corte Madera in Marin County. Great views!

Why now:
Tiburon mariposa lilies are blooming. These odd flowers exist nowhere else in the world -- just on Ring Mountain. If you go this week you will also see many Ithuriel's spear, Marin dwarf flax, sticky rosin weed, and larkspur, as well as about a million colorful butterflies, including swallowtails, crescents, and buckeyes.

If you can't make it this week:
Although the trails are muddy in winter, I love hiking Ring Mountain in February when the first flowers of the year bloom and the grassland is a lovely green. This preserve is wonderful year round.

Insider tip:
I cringe when I see folks tramping through the serpentine grassland photographing the Tiburon mariposa lilies -- there is no need! The lovely calochortus flowers bloom right along the path.

Ring Mountain is hike number 14 in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: San Francisco (third edition)Read about this hike on BAHiker.

Alternate choice:
Although the campground is packed, you can still hike at San Mateo County's Memorial Park today. Take an easy-going 5 mile loop through a gorgeous redwood and Douglas fir forest, then go home and plan your next camping weekend here.

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