This year, I’m trying to spend as much time as possible out in nature. So I was excited to find a new 6-mile loop that is only a short drive from home.

Loop: Mezue Trail / San Pablo Ridge Trail / Belgum Trail

Distance: 6 miles

Elevation Change: 1200 ft

Trailhead: End of the Rifle Range Road

Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult

Description: This hike starts with a steep descent. After climbing about 700 feet on the Mezue trail, you’ll reach the San Pablo Ridge. This is the highlight of the hike because you get a 360-degree view of the rolling pastures of Wildcat Canyon, and see Mount Tamalpais across the Bay. On the descent, you’ll pass by the site of the Belgum Sanitarium, a private treatment center for mental disorders founded in 1914. The sanitarium has since burned down; all that’s left is bits of foundation and some out-of-place palm trees. The last 3rd of the hike is flat concrete and you’ll need to climb back up to the trailhead.

Wildlife: There are almost always raptors hunting in Wildcat Canyon. You’ll see a lot of cows grazing here, who are part of a program to manage invasive vegetation. I’ve seen coyotes hanging out among the cows.

Tags: Nature, Personal