Concrete Pipe Road (also known as the Flat Road) above Fairfax is one of the few trails still in good shape after all the rain we've had in recent days. It is a great place for a family outing, because the fire road is wide and flat. We like to bring the dog and the kids with their bicycles to get out of the house and be outdoors. It is a peaceful and scenic trail. The trail is accessed from a small trailhead and parking area at the turnoff to Sky Oaks Road on Bolinas-Fairfax Road.
The fire road heads west along a hillside that looks out over the watershed. Shaver Grade splits the road into two sections, each about a mile long. Several Marin running groups use these sections for off-pavement mile repeats, and Drake High School uses Concrete Pipe Road for their cross-country course.
The habitat is forest, with occasional grassy knolls as lookout points. Bald Hill is visible from these outcroppings along the first section. This road follows a major water pipe for Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD). MMWD recently upgraded the pipe, and the road and culverts also have been improved, giving it good winter drainage. The new pipe and the adjacent old one can be seen spanning the creek on the original trestles built in the early 1900s.
The vales above the road have abundant water in them and there are several outstanding cascades along the way. Ferns and mosses are also at their peak right now with all the water. One rock along the second section is especially noteworthy for its greenery and native, water-loving plants. Wildflowers along the verge are budding. We saw hounds tongue and milkmaids, and the native iris should be out soon.
The road ends at an old pump house (a smaller track continues to Fish Grade). This is the turn-around point, making this outing a total of 4 1/2 miles.
See the book "Hiking Marin: 141 Great Hikes in Marin County" for more details. Click here to go the Marin Trails website, where you can find more information about the book.