A wide, level asphalt section of the Bay Trail known as the Mill Valley-Sausalito Path, popular with cyclists, runners, and rollerbladers, follows the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad route from Sausalito to Mill Valley. Along the way it crosses Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve, 112 acres of open space and restored salt marsh with dirt trails that may be accessible during the dry season. The marsh attracts more than 400 species of migratory birds in winter, as well as providing habitat for native birds and other wildlife. You can continue north on the trail to Bayfront Park in Mill Valley.
Sausalito-Mill Valley Path
Trailhead: Off Pohono St. in the Shoreline Office Center parking lot
From the Pohono Street trailhead, the trail travels under the Richardson Bay Bridge, then follows the edge of the marsh, crossing four small wooden bridges that rise over creeks and channels. When bicycle traffic is light, these are great places to watch for marine life as the tide surges in or out, but they may be flooded during very high tides, especially after heavy rains. Shorebirds abound and interpretive panels give historical and ecological information about Richardson Bay. On a clear day, Mount Tamalpais looms to the north as you travel this stretch of trail.
About 1.5 miles out, you come to 14-acre Bayfront Park, which surrounds a quiet inlet at the northernmost tip of Richardson Bay. The western side of the park contains a dog run, sports fields, a skateboard park, and picnic tables. A bridge with a two-inch ledge at both ends leads to the park's eastern side, with a playground, softball field, and more sports fields. From the east-side parking lot, a paved trail leads south a few hundred yards. At the "Public Shoreline" sign, follow the decomposed-granite trail uphill to an overlook with a view of the lagoon below. In my power wheelchair I safely climbed a steep section with a cross-slope, but people in manual wheelchairs may need assistance. Steps lead down from the crest of the hill to a .25-mile trail that hugs the shoreline, traveling behind a landscaped condominium complex. To reach this section by wheelchair you need to backtrack to the shoreline sign and continue on the sidewalk, turning onto Shelter Bay Avenue where it dead-ends at the trail.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Parking for the Mill Valley-Sausalito Path trailhead is in the Shoreline Office Center parking lot off Pohono St. in Sausalito; none of the designated Bay Trail spots at the lot's northern end are signed as accessible, but if you have a placard you can park in any of the spaces that are. At Bayfront Park, several accessible spots are in the Mill Valley Middle School lot off Sycamore Ave. on the park's western side and in the lots off Hamilton Dr. on the eastern side.
At Bayfront Park, accessible restrooms are on the eastern side, in the northernmost parking lot off Hamilton Dr. (tight 90-degree turn to enter). Public restrooms at the Sewerage Agency building off Sycamore Ave. on the park's western side were locked when I visited, and I was unable to verify their accessibility. A portable accessible restroom is near the trailhead in the Shoreline Office Center parking lot off Pohono St.
DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.