What’s Best: A tree-lined path, offering a quick weekday getaway and a primer on central Marin geography. This is San Rafael’s scenic secret.

Parking: From Hwy. 101 take Central San Rafael exit and go west on Third St. Turn right on A Street and then left on Fifth Ave. Continue, then go right on H St, left on Forbes Ave. and right on Elizabeth Wy. Follow Elizabeth up, go left on Ridgewood Dr. and follow to its end, at the MCOSD gate. Agency: Marin County Open Space District; San Anselmo Parks Department


The San Rafael Ridge hike, part of the Terra Linda-Sleepy Hollow Open Space, begins on the inviting Ridgewood Fire Road, through a large grove of eucalyptus. At the outset, you’ll pass road junctions on your left, leading up from Crestwood and then the Cemetery Road. After that, you may choose to take a spur trail on the right, leading the ridge’s high point. About a mile from the trailhead, the Tomahawk Fire Road leads up from San Anselmo on your left. You’ll have views of Mount Tam in that direction. The road then drops to its end, at the top of Fawn Drive coming up from Sleepy Hollow. You can connect with the Terra Linda Ridge Road, TH92, by walking down Fawn Drive, going right on Fox Lane and taking the Fox Lane Trail for about .25-mile.

More Stuff: Lower access is via Cemetery Fire Road: Take Fifth all the way to its end, entering the Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery; go right, circling around to the top of the grounds. The ridge is also reachable from San Anselmo: The Sorich Park trail goes up a sunny ravine to the ridge. Parking: Continue driving west from San Rafael to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Past a shopping center, go right on San Francisco Boulevard, to its end at Sorich Park. Walk up the trail to your right leading from the former So-Rich Dairy. You cross a footbridge and join the Cemetery Fire Road. A third access is from Tomahawk Fire Road, a pleasing spsot with bay vistas. You need to connect via some confusing surface streets. Parking: From San Francisco Boulevard, as described above, go left on Santa Cruz, right on Santa Barbara, and left on Pasadena. From Pasadena, go left on Miwok, left on Blackhawk, and then right on Tomahawk. Congratulations. Now, walk through a MCOSD gate on the Tomahawk Fire Road. The road climbs about 250 feet and reaches the ridge in less than .5-mile.

Bike: The Ridgewood Fire Road is an excellent ride to connect with the Fawn-Freitas trailhead and then continue along the Terra Linda Ridge. To do that, ride to the end of the fire road at Fawn Drive and drop down to the MCOSD gate near 390 Fawn; see TH92 for loop rides you can make from there. If you’re pedaling up to the Ridgewood trailhead, you may wish to use Cemetery Road, as described above.

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