Hike by Jocelyn Knight, originally published in the April 2011 issue of Bay Nature magazine
The hike to the summit of these rolling, grassy camelbacks reveals unmatched panoramic views, sweeping from the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco, Angel Island, the East Bay, Vallejo, and Mount Tamalpais. The hollows and seasonal creeks on the hills' flanks host a delicate habitat full of rare and varied wildlife. The Tiburon jewelflower grows here and nowhere else. Migrating raptors often soar overhead.
This precious 117-acre pocket of wilderness begins at the Old St. Hilary's Church and climbs up along the ridge of the Tiburon peninsula. Adjacent to Old St. Hilary's is the John T. Howell Wildflower Preserve, with 217 species of plants adapted to the serpentine soil here. Spring wildflowers include Tiburon paintbrush, Tiburon buckwheat, Marin dwarf flax, fountain zigadene, hog fennel, false lupine, and many others.
Visitors may be deceived about the preserve's true size, since beyond the fence on the southern border, extending to the ridgeline, is a locally popular 110-acre open parcel known as "Easton Point" or the "Martha property." For decades, it has been mistaken for contiguous public open space, but it's actually private property slated for a 32-unit housing development.
Getting there Enter either near Old St. Hilary's Church at the Vistazo West Fire Road, or on the ridge at the end of Heathcliff Road, off of Lyford Drive, Tiburon.