Hike Deer Park with a Visit to Historic Marin Stables

Easy or moderate hike over 2- or 6-mile loops. Visit the historic, 74-year-old stables. Good for families. Mostly shady. Best to do when trail conditions are dry. Dogs on leash OK.

 is located in Fairfax near Deer Park. The historic stables were built in 1937 in a quiet and beautiful canyon at the end of Wood Lane. The old barn is a classic and some of the old hitching posts are so worn as to have a story of their own. It is possible to drive to the stables, but approaching the old stables from the woods is a fun experience and a nice way to incorporate a hike.

We like to start in Deer Park and head up into the vast trail system that surrounds the area. You could hike a different combination of trails for days just in this region alone. Many of the trails are informal, built by local neighbors of the park. Some lead to warm grassy slopes with sweeping views, others to mixed forest and rocky outcrops.  Some lead into the grandeur and solitude of canyons full of Redwoods and ferns. Whichever path you choose we recommend you try coming back through Marin Stables for a look around. 

There are two main paths that lead to the stables. The high Moore Trail is the most direct connection from Boy Scout Junction, which lies on Deer Park Fire Road about halfway up to Five Corners Junction. The lower Canyon Trail starts as a fire road that also heads from Boy Scout Junction. Canyon Trail can also be accessed from Concrete Pipe Fire Road on the other side of the canyon. When Canyon Trail reaches the valley the habitat is delightful. The trail contours along the bottom of the canyon and is full of redwoods, with mixed forest along the slopes above. The canyon is amazingly flat and wide at the bottom. Most of the huge old growth redwoods are gone, but the path through the second growth down to the stable is gentle, shady and peaceful.

For a family hike with younger kids try this shorter option. Head up into Deer Park via the Deer Park Fire Road. When you reach Six Points Trail go right to Boy Scout Junction. Here take the Canyon Trail Fire Road down into the canyon. At the creek you will catch Canyon Trail to the right which leads to Marin Stables. Kids love ending at the stable to see the horses and the old stable dog.

For a larger hike head up into Deer Park on Deer Park Fire Road. When you reach Six Points Trail go right to Boy Scout Junction. From there take Bald Hill Trail across the road to Five Corners and then Elliott trail to the top of Shaver Grade (there is a bit of fire road hiking at the top to make the connection). Here take Alex Forman Trail to Sky Oaks and then go down Taylor Trail to Concrete Pipe Road. Just across the road is Canyon Trail which leads to Marin Stables. When you are done at the stables continue down Wood Lane and go right on Porteous back to Deer Park.

Please respect the horses and owners at the stable. These are private stables on a long term lease from Marin Municipal Water District. Don't approach the horses without asking permission. Dogs on leash OK. There may be horseback riders on the lower trails that lead to the stables.

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.


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