Phoenix Lake - Yolanda - Hidden Meadows Loop, Marin County: Phoenix Lake Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California

Phoenix Lake - Yolanda - Hidden Meadows Loop - 5.25 miles

Marin County: Phoenix Lake Trailhead

Both summits of Mt Tamalpais are clearly visible along the back side of the loop

Both summits of Mt Tamalpais are clearly visible along the back side of the loop

Round-Trip Length: 5.25 miles
Start-End Elevation: 130' - 130' (600' max elevation on the loop)
Elevation Change: +470' net elevation change (+750' total elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Phoenix Lake - Yolanda - Hidden Meadows Loop - 5.25 Miles Round-Trip

Phoenix Lake is one of five lakes in the Marin County - Mt Tamalpais Watershed. All five lakes provide drinking water to Marin County and a range of recreational opportunities.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Phoenix Lake - Yolanda Trail - Hidden Meadows Loop is a 5.25 mile route that travels around Phoenix Lake, up and along Bald Hill and back through Hidden Meadows, a grassy flat that draws deer, bobcat, turkey and even the occasional mountain lion

From Phoenix Lake Trailhead, walk Phoenix Lake Road to the Phoenix Lake Dam (.25 miles : 230'). Follow signs for Lake Lagunitas up the north shore of Phoenix Lake.

Turn right onto the Yolanda Trail (.75 miles 240'), which immediately narrows and rises through a mix of madrone, live coast oak, black oak and California bay trees.

It climbs steadily and winds under the rocky ridge of Bald Hill, where the valley opens with good views of Mt Tamalpais. The trail is mostly exposed until reaching the highest point on the loop (1.65 miles : 600'). 

The Yolanda Trail dips back into the forest and begins a gradual descent to a major trail split (2.0 miles : 530'). Turn left on the Hidden Meadows Trail, which zig-zags down to Phoenix Creek and into Hidden Meadows (2.5 miles : 295'), a series of grassy glades tucked between a small creek and tree-studded hillside.

The trail runs through a young redwood stand before joining the Shaver Grade Fire Road (2.7 miles : 290'). Turn left onto Shaver Grade Road and keep straight through a major trail junction at 3.2 miles. At 3.4 miles turn right onto the Gertrude Orr Trail (signed Phoenix - Ord Trail). Follow it down and across the creek to the south side of Phoenix Lake. 

The Gertrude Orr Trail rides above the south shore of Phoenix Lake, weaving in and out of the adjacent forest (4.0 miles : 210'). It dead-ends at a fire road (4.5 miles : 215') - turn left onto the fire road back to Phoenix Dam (5.0 miles : 230'). Retrace your steps back to the trailhead to complete the loop (5.25 miles : 130').

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N37 57.478 W122 34.369 — 0.00: Phoenix Lake Trailhead - 130'
  • N37 57.360 W122 34.558 — 0.25 miles: Phoenix Lake Dam - stay straight - 230'
  • N37 57.292 W122 34.805 — 0.75 miles: Turn right onto Yolanda Trail - 240'
  • N37 57.516 W122 34.878 — 1.00 miles: Great views of Bald Hill and Mt Tamalpais - 455'
  • N37 57.739 W122 35.231 — 1.65 miles: Crest of Loop - 600'
  • N37 57.908 W122 35.262 — 2.00 miles: Turn Left on HIdden Meadows Trail - 530'
  • N37 57.721 W122 35.483 — 2.50 miles: End descent - Cross Phoenix Creek - 295'
  • N37 57.608 W122 35.400 — 2.70 miles: Turn left onto Fire Road - 290'
  • N37 57.346 W122 35.077 — 3.20 miles: Stay straight at major intersection - 210'
  • N37 57.297 W122 34.951 — 3.40 miles: Turn right onto Phoenix - Ord Trail - 215'
  • N37 57.186 W122 34.665 — 4.00 miles: Hiking above the lakeshore - 210'
  • N37 56.996 W122 34.390 — 4.5 miles: Turn left to remain on Gertrude - Orr Trail - 215'
  • N37 57.318 W122 34.519 — 5.00 miles: Return to Phoenix Lake Dam - 215'
  • N37 57.465 W122 34.335 — 5.25 miles: Back at Phoenix Lake Trailhead 130'

Worth Noting

  • Arrive early to secure parking. Phoenix Lake sees heavy use, especially on weekends. Additional parking is located just outside the gate.
  • Wild Turkeys are technically an invasive species - they can be heard and seen around Phoenix Lake.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Camping is not allowed at Phoenix Lake.

Fishing Information

A valid California Fishing license is required for anyone 16 years or older. See this link for detailed fishing and safe eating guidelines

Rules and Regulations

  • Bikes are not permitted on the Yolanda and Hidden Meadows trails - citations are given. Walking or carrying bikes is also not permitted on these trails. Bikes are allowed on the fire roads. 15mph max speed limit.
  • Horses are allowed on fire roads and designated trails only.
  • Dogs are allowed and must be on leash.
  • No swimming, wading and boating on the lake. No hunting or weapons allowed.

Directions to Trailhead

From San Francisco, take the Golden Gate Bridge north and continue on HWY 101 to the Sir Francis Drake Blvd Exit. Drive west on Sir Francis Drake Blvd for 2.5 miles and turn left onto Lagunitas Road. Go through several stop signs for 1 mile until the road dead-ends at the parking area. 

Contact Information

Mt Tamalpais State Park
801 Panoramic Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Marin Municipal Water District
220 Nellen Avenue
Corte Madera, CA 94925-1169

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903

For information or to report a non-emergency land management issue on Marin County Open Space District preserves call (415) 473-2816 to speak with a ranger.

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


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