For at least three generations, while San Anselmo and Fairfax continued to grow, Hawthorne Canyon seemed too wild and inaccessible for development. Nestled between these two towns on the north side of the Ross Valley, the lower Hawthorne Canyon consists of 22 acres of pristine wooded hills. Neighbors with their children, seeking refuge from cars and suburbia, created hiking trails, tree houses, and favorite picnic spots, inevitably making a park in a part of town devoid of public open space. But what many experienced and used as a park was in fact privately-owned land. In 1996 development plans were submitted to the town and story poles erected - just the catalyst needed for local preservation efforts to take off.
With broad support, the town of San Anselmo entered into a contract agreement to purchase the entire 22 acres. Neighbors in the immediate area raised a large share of the purchase price, and the Town contributed significant resources. Through a lot of hard work the Open Space Committee and Hawthorne Canyon friends and neighbors reached the $590,000 needed to acquire this beautiful wooded open space. In 1999 the acquisition of lower Hawthorne Canyon was completed, adding another special area to the open space of Ross Valley. The park can now be enjoyed by all for picnicking, hiking, and admiring the lush views over the Ross Valley.
Still remaining in private hands is upper Hawthorne Canyon - approximately 9 acres of ridgeline property near Oak Springs Road.
Access & Trails:
Lower canyon: From the Hub, proceed west on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Just past Butterfield Road, turn right on Suffield Avenue. Continue (left) onto Valley Road, which turns into Traxler Road. Make a sharp left onto Camino de Herrera and look for a place to park that leaves at least twelve feet of road.
There is a short trail into the open space from the sign at the intersection of Traxler and Camino De Herrera.
Upper canyon: From the Hub, proceed west on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Turn right on Butterfield Road, left on Woodside, and left on Oak Springs Drive to the end.
DOGS: Dogs are permitted off leash. Do not allow your dog to chase wildlife or harass other park visitors. Please clean up after your dog. Poop bags and a trash can are at the entrance. No water is available.