Dolliver Park – Larkspur, California - Atlas Obscura

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Dolliver Park

Larkspur, California

At night, a grove of towering redwood trees growing through the pavement block out all light from the so-called “Dark Park” of Madrone Avenue. 


The “Caution Tree Crossing” sign at Dolliver Park kept getting stolen, so now a 15 mph speed limit sign warns you that you’re about to wind your way along Madrone Avenue, a narrow street lined with 40 redwood trees.

Growing high into the sky, the impressive redwoods and a walk in the nearby Baltimore Canyon Preserve make Dolliver Park feel like a fairy tale forest during the day. But when the sun goes down, the towering trees block almost all the light from reaching the small California park, which is how it earned its creepy-sounding nickname: the “Dark Park” of Madrone Avenue.

The redwoods seem to sprout from the sidewalks and even from the street itself, forming natural, curbed-off obstacles that make you twist and turn if you drive along its route. Sometimes the avenue is only 10 feet wide, and it slows cars to a crawl, which is just the way the locals like it.  

As a glance at some of the hillside houses and now-tony shacks makes clear, the avenue hides some of the tiniest building lots in the area—originally barely 25 feet by 25 feet. It and the trees were saved from developers over a century ago when locals were determined not to end up with “postage stamp” houses again.

Cars were begrudgingly admitted starting in 1915, but only with the proviso that the road had to work its way around, not over, the mighty trees, so now everything on wheels has to take on this leafy, mile-long wooden obstacle course.

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