Address: 1) Fishbits Trailhead at 37°52'59.0"N 122°27'25.8"W (dead-end of Vistazo W. St. off of Lyford Drive, Tiburon) 2) Heathcliff Trailhead at 37°53'12.2"N 122°27'21.5"W (dead-end of Lyford Drive, off of Sugarloaf Dr, Tiburon) 3) 37.887673, -122.455613 (dead-end of Heathcliff Drive, off of Sugarloaf Dr, Tiburon) Parking: Free street parking near the addresses above. Please be respectful of residents. Hours: Not posted/website says open 24 hours Type: Hike (moderate to strenuous) If you start at the Fishbits Trailhead, it's a strenuous hike. The other trailheads you can have easier hikes (moderate) but still enjoy the views. Regulations: Dogs allowed on-leash; may be off leash on fire roads if under voice control Best time to visit: A clear day for incredible views. But this is a great spot to visit anytime, because even on a hot day it stays relatively cool because of the bay breeze.
Description: This 122-acre preserve has some of the best views in the bay. From the Fishbits trailhead, you can take the trail down to the beautiful historic white chapel from 1888. It was originally a mission church but became a historical landmark in the 1950s. It is surrounded by wildflowers and has views of the the bay in the background.
If you retrace your steps back, you'll find my favorite trail that takes you up to the Tiburon Uplands. This trail is visible after the first bend from the Fishbits trail (photos below). You should see a small stream passing the trail with some bushes behind it. You can see the trail etched in the hillside to the right of/behind bushes. I did not initially think this unmarked trail was a legitimate trail, but a local told us about it and we have hiked it a couple times now. When you get higher up you will see official trail markers. The trail quickly ascends to beautiful views and it's a short but very steep scramble uphill. For reference, the Fishbits Trailhead is at approximately 220ft elevation, and about 20 minutes later we were at the first peak at 510ft elevation (at a leisurely hiking pace).
To reach the highest peak, just continue hiking uphill until you see a fence. Stay to the left when the trail splits (don’t pass the fence line). Although locals told me it was OK to hike past this fence to the right, there’s a private property sign so I wouldn’t recommend it. The view from the peak to the left is better anyway (you’re higher up and will have 360 degree views). You'll continue hiking up another 100 ft or so until you reach a peak of 615ft elevation. From here you will be able to see San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, the Marin Headlands and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. During the hike to that peak, just continue following the trail to the left to the highest point you can see. You'll hike along the fence line and eventually pass a trail marker to the top. You'll know you're going the right way if you don't enter the no trespassing area or cross the fence line.
To finish your hike, you can either retrace your steps, take one of several other unmarked trails down the hillside that connect back to the main fire trail and scramble down, or you can take the trail to the Heathcliff Trailhead and walk down along Lyford Drive until you return to where you parked your car. I prefer to just walk down Lyford Drive, because the steep trail is more difficult to hike down than up.
For a slightly easier hike with the same views, you can park at one of the upper trailheads (Heathcliff), and take the Heathcliff trailhead to the top. There are a couple hills that you will have to descend and ascend, but the elevation gain is only about 100ft, as opposed to 400ft from the Fishbits Trailhead. If you aren't up for the steep scramble down, but still want to see the chapel, you can simply drive to it (it's near the end of Esperanza St. on the other side of the preserve).
This park does not have restrooms or running water, but does have trash cans and doggy waste bags at the Fishbits Trailhead. If you have a long drive, I recommend stopping at Blackie's Pasture to use the restroom before you reach the park. From the East Bay, Blackie's Pasture is along the route to Old St. Hilary's, about 2.5 miles down the road before you reach the preserve. That park has nice restrooms and running water.