Rush Creek Preserve

Easy going roads and trails along rich tidal wetlands.

Rangers Recommend

  • Broad, level Pinheiro Fire Road is popular with hikers, bikers, and equestrians. It offers unimpeded views of a large wetland managed by the California Department of Fish and Game.
  • From the eastern end of the 522-acre preserve, look out across the Petaluma River delta to Sonoma County and beyond.
  • Less frequently traveled trails on the upper slopes boast groves of manzanita, and stands of black oak and California bay.
  • Novato Horsemen’s facilities are within walking distance of the preserve's eastern end.
  • The eastern end of Pinheiro Ridge drops down to a valley that contains the Bahia Valley Memorial Cemetery and “Cemetery Marsh.”
  • Dogs welcome, but must be leashed at all times.

Naturalist Notes

  • Marshland, tidal flats, and woodlands make this one of the best birding locations in the North Bay, with close to 200 regularly occurring species.
  • Bahia Trail borders the Petaluma River Marsh Wildlife Area for more birding opportunities. Water birds abound. Savannah sparrows and dark-eyed juncos nest in tall grasses and low shrubs.
  • See a rare blue oak woodland in Bahia, growing adjacent to salt marsh.
  • Anise swallowtail butterflies are active in spring.
  • Spring wildflowers include shooting star and snowberry.
  • Check out the iNaturalist field guide. Add your own observations.


dog on leash
Dogs On Leash
Horseback Riding

Know Before You Go

  • Stay on roads and trails to preserve sensitive ecosystems and to avoid trespassing on private property.
  • Be courteous and safety conscious when sharing roads and trails. Go slow and say hello.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. Trails can be muddy during rainy season.
  • Bring water.
  • There are no restrooms at this location.
  • Steer clear of poison oak.
  • After an outing, check for ticks.