Places of Interest

Big Rock Ridge

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Big Rock Ridge

If you’re looking for some challenging hiking in Marin with a big payoff, consider the Big Rock Ridge Trail. This trail spans the ridge-line connecting Lucas Valley on the northern end of San Rafael to Novato, and at its peak is the second highest point in Marin County after Mount Tamalpais.

To catch the trailhead for this hike, take 101 South from Novato and exit on Lucas Valley Road. Drive west approximately 5.5 miles to the “big rock” at the crest. The trailhead is on the north side of the road.

The scenic Big Rock Trail is a moderate climb through rolling grasslands and oak-studded woods that eventually connects to the Big Rock Ridge Fire Road. This wide, multi-use road winds steeply upward along the spine of the ridge to the radio towers at the summit. The summit hike is about 7 miles roundtrip, and those who make the climb will be rewarded with spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of the Bay Area and beyond.

For a shorter jaunt, pause part-way up the ridge to enjoy extensive views of Skywalker Ranch, owned by director George Lucas, and the beautiful rolling hills of the Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve before returning to the trailhead (about 3 miles roundtrip).

The trail weaves into private property and hiking is permitted by an easement. Be sure to obey posted signs. Pack a picnic to enjoy along the way and a blanket or seat cushion to sit on. There are no restrooms. Bring plenty of water.

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