This 1271 acre preserve includes much of the south-facing slope rising above what is now known as Lucas Valley (historically called Gallinas Valley). The highlight of this preserve is the Big Rock Trail, a multiple-use trail that begins at the crest of Lucas Valley Road (at the ”Big Rock”), and eases its way up to the Big Rock Ridge Fire Road. This trail, opened in 2003, is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. It connects with the Loma Alta Trail that ascends the southern half of the valley. Portions of both the Big Rock Trail and the fire road along the ridge are trail easements that cross private property, so pay heed to all trail signs posted along the way. The summit of Big Rock Ridge at 1895 feet is the second highest point in Marin County (after Mount Tamalpais), and views from the top are spectacular. An alternate route between the valley floor and the ridge is the incredibly steep Luiz Fire Road, but one trip up (or down) this old road will make you truly appreciate the new trail for its beauty and gentle grade.
From Hwy 101 in San Rafael, take the Lucas Valley Rd/Smith Ranch Rd exit west on Lucas Valley Rd, turn right at Westgate Dr, and turn right at Creekside Dr. MCOSD gate is on the left.
Visit walkbikemarin.org, transitandtrails.org, 511.org, or dial 511 to find out about alternative transportation and public transit options from your location.
Watch the sky as you walk along the ridge; Golden Eagles are frequently sighted riding the warm updrafts here. Few fire roads or trails occur here making it an ideal place for animals that like solitude, such as Mountain Lions.