Cascade Canyon Preserve

Todays trip is a hike that will focus on the landscape and butterflies at the Cascade Canyon Preserve.

This lush preserve, tucked into the hills above Fairfax, is one of the true gems of the Open Space District. Cascade Canyon incorporates 498 acres of some of the most pristine habitat in the Corte Madera Creek watershed. Cascade Falls, at the head of the main canyon, is a popular destination, particularly in winter and spring when flows are at their peak. Even on a relatively short walk, one can traverse a wide variety of habitats and see an assortment of unusual native plants. The canyons and lower slopes are sheltered by mixed broadleaf and evergreen forests above lush riparian corridors. Nature lovers can find attractions here at any time of the year; birds and wildflowers in spring, mushrooms and ferns in winter and cool shaded retreats during even the hottest summer days. The permanent water in the upper reaches of San Anselmo, Carey Camp, and Cascade creeks act as a wildlife magnet and provides some of the best Steelhead spawning habitat in the county. Most of the current preserve was once owned by Floyd Elliot, a former Mayor of the town of Fairfax. This acreage was passed to the Open Space District in the early 1970’s. An additional 176 acres was donated to MCOSD later by the Ettinger family, who named the area’s most prominent feature (now known as Pam’s Blue Ridge) in honor of their daughter, Pamela. Parking at all of the access points to Cascade Canyon is extremely limited, so please be careful to observe local ordinances when you visit.
With several permanent streams running through, this preserve is a wildlife magnet throughout the year. This is one of the best places to see nearly every species of reptile and amphibian in Marin (including rattlesnakes) and the abundant wildflowers attract an incredible variety of butterflies. Black-headed grosbeaks, Olive-sided flycatchers, and Black-throated Gray Warblers are among the many birds that thrive in this pristine valley.

Foothill Yellow-legged Frog eNature Butterflies eNature Birds eNature ReptilesAquatic Garter Snake

Cascade Fire Road

Directions:

From Hwy 101 in Larkspur, take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd exit west towards Fairfax, turn left at Pacheco, turn right at Broadway, turn left at Bolinas Rd, and turn right at Cascade Dr. Entrance gate is at the end. Parking is limited, so carpool if you can.

I will be leaving Fairfield, Raley's Shopping Center at 7am. Bring water, snacks, sun screen, and comfortable walking shoes.

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  • monty m.

    Dennis, I can't send emails to pacbell.net...Action camera is having a swap...October 13...go to www.actioncamera.com

    September 14, 2013

    • Dennis A.

      I'll look into it and post it. Thanks

      September 14, 2013

  • Tina W.

    We should go there during Spring time, so we'll see waterfall.

    September 13, 2013

  • ron s.

    Couldn't park anywhere so maybe next time I'm not going

    September 7, 2013

    • Adrienne E.

      Sorry you had such a hard time finding us and finding parking. There was parking just outside the Preserve on the dirt areas along the road.

      September 13, 2013

  • Tina W.

    I dd upload my images successfully, thank you, Dennis, for your instruction. Hope everybody likes my pix.

    1 · September 10, 2013

  • Tina W.

    I could only post my 10 images at the Meetup Group Photo Album. I can't find the drop down box under existing folders as you mention. So if anyone wants to see my pix please go to that site.

    1 · September 8, 2013

  • Mary H

    Nice to meet some new people as well as regulars. Wouldn't mind going back in the spring.

    1 · September 8, 2013

  • Andrea K.

    Maybe not the best time of year to see the full beauty of Cascade Canyon, but it was a fun hike and the group is always great. I enjoyed meeting new photographer friends. Lets go back here another time.

    1 · September 8, 2013

  • Bob S.

    It was fun with very nice fellow photographers. It would have been better if the stream was running.

    1 · September 8, 2013

  • Bob S.

    Dennis et al, it was a fun hike with a good group of photographers. I look forward to the next hike.

    1 · September 7, 2013

  • Tina W.

    Dennis. I can't figure out how to post the pix I took today? Please give me instruction. Thanks.

    September 7, 2013

  • Tina W.

    I enjoyed the mild hike and taking pictures. Everyone I met are very nice. Looking forward to the next one.

    1 · September 7, 2013

  • SALLY

    Even though it was hot and hilly...I still got the pics I Intended.
    I also enjoyed the lunch together.

    1 · September 7, 2013

  • Dennis A.

    Very dry, but will be even better in the spring after some rain.

    September 7, 2013

  • ron s.

    Going on to the reserve now hope to see you there

    September 7, 2013

  • ron s.

    Dont see anyone

    September 7, 2013

  • ron s.

    I am at Raleys off texas now

    September 7, 2013

  • Teresa

    Regret having some recent camera issue, but might attempt to join, to say "Hello" & share a bit of Nature adventure. Enjoy the Preserve....

    September 6, 2013

  • Robin

    I need to work tomorrow sorry miss this event.

    September 6, 2013

  • William L M.

    Can't make it after all

    September 6, 2013

  • ron s.

    Should I bring a tripod or a monopod
    Are they allowed
    Ron

    September 6, 2013

    • Dennis A.

      Yes, they are allowed. I plan on a monopod myself.

      September 6, 2013

    • ron s.

      Thanks me too

      September 6, 2013

  • Laurie C.

    I just picked up my first event shoot and the event is on Saturday. I really hate missing this trip.

    September 5, 2013

  • Larry R.

    Any carpoolers from Pleasanton, 580 up

    September 5, 2013

  • Roberta B.

    Weekend plans with family changed. For the sake of peace I had to make a wise choice. So, I now have to experience Casade Canyon vicariously through your photos.

    September 4, 2013

  • Robin

    I am leaving from Sacramento and google says it takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to get there. So I am leaving Sacramento at 6:30 am. If anyone is coming from Sacramento or on the way I can carpool with you. Let me know. Thanks!

    September 2, 2013

    • Dennis A.

      I recommend that you don't use the map or Google and follow the written direction. The roads are not as shown on the map. 2 hours from Sacramento is very close.

      September 2, 2013

    • Robin

      I said two hours and 30 minutes. I will use your directions thanks.

      September 3, 2013

  • Gee Gee W.

    Hi Dylan,

    I am planning on going on Saturday, the 7th. I live in Palo Alto, I don't mind driving but can you come by train or car to Palo Alto. My telephone number is[masked] my email address is [masked] Gee Gee

    September 2, 2013

  • Dylan

    Anyone available to carpool around the san jose area or on the way?

    September 1, 2013

  • Baroness D.

    I am out in Africa Photographing wild life I will be back end of October or beginning November.

    September 1, 2013

  • Susan

    Can I ride with you? If yes, what time?

    July 20, 2013

  • Kim s Photography C.

    Butterfly's I love wildlife photos

    August 26, 2013

  • Tina W.

    I'm still waiting for carpool, anyone lives near Vallejo?

    August 22, 2013

    • Dennis A.

      You can ride with me, but I will be returning early.

      August 22, 2013

    • Tina W.

      Thank you very much, how do I meet you?

      August 23, 2013

  • SALLY

    Hi Shutterbugs....Here is something SWEET from B&H Photo:


    Showing Page:1 of 1
    Canon EF-S[masked]mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Telephoto Zoom Lens

    Canon
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    EF-S[masked]mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Telephoto Zoom Lens

    Canon EF-S Lens Mount
    35mm-Equivalent Focal Length:[masked]mm
    STM AF Stepping Motor
    Ultra-Low Dispersion Element
    Optimized Lens Coating
    Optical Image Stabilizer
    Full-Time Manual Focus Control
    Non-Rotating Front Element & Rear Focus
    Seven-Blade Circular Diaphragm
    Minimum Focus Distance: 2.8'

    B&H # CA55250STM
    Mfr # 8546B002

    New Item, Available for pre-order

    You Pay: $349.00
    Free Shipping (USA)

    QUANTITY :

    OR

    August 22, 2013

  • Tina W.

    I'm living in Vallejo, I need carpool to the spot, anyone can help me.

    August 15, 2013

  • Gee Gee W.

    Will do my best to attend...will leave Palo Alto at 7:30AM

    July 28, 2013

  • Baroness D.

    I will be in Africa end of August & September will not be able to attend.

    July 17, 2013

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