DIY Hike: Tiburon to Blackie’s Pasture
Tiburon to Blackie’s Pasture: Back in the ’60s, people driving along Tiburon Boulevard would see Blackie, a swaybacked former cavalry and rodeo horse enjoying his retirement in a pasture near Trestle Glen Boulevard. Once a favorite with children who loved to feed him carrots and sugar cubes, Blackie is commemorated today by a life-sized bronze sculpture by Bay Area artist Albert Guibara, in what is now Blackie’s Pasture. Blackie’s Pasture is also one end of a 2 1/2-mile multi-use path that runs along the Richardson Bay shoreline, with panoramic views.
The walk begins in downtown Tiburon at the Donahue Depot, the terminus of the San Francisco and Northern Pacific Railroad, skirting magnificent Richardson Bay to end at Blackie’s statue. The path is a former railroad bed that has been converted to public use. Along the route, interpretive signs deliver railroad history with old photos and stories.
What You’ll See:
When you emerge from the ferry, turn right on Paradise Drive (water on your right) and walk a short way to check out the Donahue Depot (1920 Paradise Drive). This restored relic of the railroad-ferry connection at Point Tiburon was built in 1884 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. After admiring the depot, head back toward town, staying on the south side of Paradise Drive (water on your left). Paradise Drive becomes Tiburon Boulevard as you go. Note the new seascape fountain-sculpture in Tiburon Fountain Plaza. Continue on the sidewalk along Tiburon Boulevard until the multi-use path begins just across from the Belvedere-Tiburon Library. Look up on the hill between the library and the town hall to see the landmark Old St. Hilary’s Church, built in 1888 to minister to railroad workers.
Shortly after the path crosses San Rafael Avenue, Richardson Bay will open out on your left with views of Sausalito, Mount Tamalpais, downtown San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. When the path divides, take the gravel trail to the left, hugging the water’s edge. You can take a break on one of the benches and enjoy the many shorebirds and the magnificent view. When the paths rejoin, the Richardson Bay Wildlife Ponds will be on your right, where you might be able to see ducks and egrets fishing for food. When you get to Blackie’s Pasture, you can visit Blackie’s statue – which may be draped with climbing children – to pay your respects. If you want to walk a little farther, you can continue about a third of a mile up to the Richardson Bay Audubon Center (376 Greenwood Beach Road) along Blackie’s Pasture Road, which becomes Greenwood Beach Road.
When you return to Tiburon, make sure to explore Main Street. You can enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes and browse in the shops. Continue around Main Street to Ark Row where boutiques are housed in converted houseboats. In the late 19th century, these “arks,” as they were commonly called, were used as summer homes by bohemians, artists, and San Francisco vacationers. After the houseboating craze fizzled, the arks were moved to Tiburon Lagoon, where today they form this picturesque shopping lane.
By public transportation, take the ferry from the S.F. Ferry Building or from Pier 41 to Tiburon. You can also reverse direction and walk from Blackie’s Pasture to Tiburon. Coming from San Francisco, drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and take 101 North to the Tiburon Boulevard exit, and turn right (east) on Tiburon Boulevard. After 1.5 miles, turn right into the parking lot at Blackie’s Pasture Road.
Photo: Armstrong via Flickr