Trail Tales – 3
Homestead Blvd. as shown on old maps connects Sequoia Valley Road on the west with Almonte Blvd. on the east. Dairy ranchers used it to transport milk down to the railroad for shipment to San Francisco. Today most of it is impassable. It is the boundary between Homestead Valley and GGNRA. Homestead Trail begins at #174 Homestead Blvd. and follows unpaved Homestead Blvd. for about a mile before veering off to the north. GGNRA trails coming down from Homestead Hill and Eagle Trail coming up from Montford intersect Homestead Trail.
In the eighties, Geoff Barrett led an annual wildflower walk on the trail. In the fifties, a bulldozer had widened several hundred yards of Homestead Blvd. beyond #179. This stretch is known as “Kott’s Cut” after the developer. For many years a Volkswagen Beetle rusted next to the trail—it must have come down from a long way up the hill on Waterview Dr.
Mountain biking has caused problems. Bikers repeatedly sawed off 4×4 posts to which “no biking” signs were attached. Finally, a solution was found—all steel MMWD type signs. Bikers also caused erosion in places. Encounters between bikers and hikers were sometimes a source of outrage verging on physical violence.
A national magazine for biking enthusiasts published a color photograph of a beautiful stretch of Homestead Trail with the following caption: “Marin County California – The Homestead Trail in Marin’s Homestead Valley is one of the few local single tracks still open to mountain bikes. This mile-long sweetie skirts the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (which has only two miles of legal single track) and Mt. Tamalpais State Park (300 yards of single track). For info on the trail (or to help fight for our rights in the birthplace of mountain biking) call Bicycle Trails Council Marin, 415/456-7512.” HVLT made the call. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition apologized, admonished the magazine’s editor, and advised Marin bikers that bikes are not allowed on any single track trails in Homestead Valley. However, scofflaw bikers still appear on Homestead’s single track trails, sometimes at night, when they wear head lamps. Bikes are allowed on Pixie Trail fire roads.
The 1903 map of Homestead Valley shows Ridgewood Ave. following the west ridge from Ferndale Ave. on the south to Edgewood Ave. on the north. Only the areas at the beginning and end have been paved. The relatively newly developed Ridgewood Trail connects Cowboy Rock Trail with Eagle Trail mainly by following the undeveloped Ridgewood Ave. A 400 ft. overgrown hillside section of Ridgewood Ave. from Cowboy Rock Trail to the paved road would have to be cleared and a trail developed to complete Ridgewood Trail.
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.