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Wild Beauty at Modini Mayacamas Preserves

By Alexa Chipman May 29, 2017

More clambering exploration than a hike in the traditional sense, the experience lives up to the motto of Audubon Canyon Ranch—conservation in action. The preserve requires a guide, unless you take the orientation class, after which there are 1,400 acres open to hiking with an additional 1,600 closed to the public and used for research. Dramatic hills surround idyllic creeks, woodlands and meadows.

Modini Mayacamas Preserves Healdsburg


Strolling Through Roy’s Redwoods

By Alexa Chipman Apr. 14, 2017

Stretches of Marin County are surrounded by sentinels of towering redwoods that can be dark enough to require headlights when driving. Roy’s Redwoods Preserve is a compact area of loop trails off one of those roads—Nicasio Valley Road. Next to San Geronimo Golf Course, some trails run right along the golfing green, while others dive deep into woods of fern and moss that feel far from civilization.

The preserve is technically three areas—French Ranch (hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians), Maurice Thorner Memorial (hikers only), and Roy’s Redwoods (hikers or equestrians). The equestrian friendly areas can get rather muddy during the winter, so don’t wear shoes that you are fond of.

Roy's Redwoods Loop Trail (more…)

Quarryhill Botanical Garden

By Alexa Chipman Mar. 6, 2016

Nestled in the countryside of Sonoma County, this hidden gem of primarily Asian botanical collections is a treat for visitors. It ranges up and over an old quarry that has been turned into a paradise of trees, waterfalls, bridges, and flowers. The garden is not large, but it is extremely steep—be ready for sharp inclines to fully explore the area.

Quarryhill Botanical Garden Glen Ellen