St. Hilary Church – A Top Bay Area Hike

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Is the St. Hilary Church hike at the
Old Saint Hilary’s Open Space Preserve in Tiburon worth it?

Old St. Hilary’s Open Space Preserve is a 122 acre Marin County Park that overlooks the Bay with spectacular panoramic views of all three bridges – The Golden Gate Bridge, the Richmond Bridge, and the Bay Bridge.

The Preserve is just 15 miles from San Francisco.

It’s just over one mile, and easy enough for the whole family to walk, which makes it a top Bay Area hike.

If you’re looking for a bigger hike in Marin County, then don’t miss the Dipsea Trail Loop. It’s amazing!

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St. Hilary Hike

Know before you go


How to get to the St. Hilary Open Space Preserve

To access the Heathcliff Fire Road trail head, put Old Saint Hilary’s Open Space Nature Preserve into your GPS.


~ From Hwy 101 in Mill Valley, take the exit for Tiburon Blvd (Hwy 131) east 3.5 miles.

~ Turn left onto Lyford Dr., right onto Vistazo West St., and follow to the end (dead end).

~ Drive through the gorgeous Tiburon neighborhood to Vistazo St., West Belvedere.

~ Find parking on the street very close to the trail. You’ll be parking in front of homes, so be mindful and respectful of the lucky people who live in the neighborhood.

~ The Heathcliff Fire Road Trail, or the northern part of the preserve, is accessed from Vistazo St

~ From the Heathcliff Fire Road trail, as a hiker, you can descend to the southern part of the preserve, the Vistazo Fire Road Trail, which will lead you to the church parking area.

Weather Image


~ Prepare for wind! Bring layers! 

~ No need for hiking boots, sneakers will do.

~ Always bring water.

~ Your cell phone should work and the area is contained enough to find your way back to the car.

~ There are no public restrooms on the Preserve.

Best Bay Area Hike-St. Hilary Church

What is the Tiburon Jewelflower?

The nature preserve is not only known for the perfect panoramic views of the entire Bay, but also for its rare wildflowers, the most famous being the Tiburon Jewelflower. This endangered flower blooms May through June. 

View of Golden Gate Bridge

The History of St. Hilary’s Church

The Miwok tribes transferred the land to a Mexican land grant.

That grant was then purchased by an immigrant from Ireland.

That Irish immigrant  later married the daughter of the Mexican commander of the Presidio.

They had a daughter who married a Canadian.  

That couple allowed the archdiocese of San Francisco to build a church on their property.

And all this happened before 1888!

Later, in the 1960’s the people of Belvedere and Tiburon formed a trust to protect the church and its surroundings. Because of them, it’s now a well taken care of spot for everyone to enjoy. 

Best Bay Area Hike-St. Hilary Church

Marin County Bonus Activity!

We always add a little bonus to this hike by stopping at our favorite juicer, Sun Life Organics in the Larkspur Landing, Marin Country, shopping area.

If you’ve never had a Sun Life Mint Chocolate Chip smoothie, can you even say you’ve lived? 

Best Bay Area Hike-St. Hilary Church



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

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