What’s Best: A mounded, grassy ridge, rising above suburbia, with oak-fringed view roads for hikers, joggers, and cyclists. Head here for a quick getaway.

Parking: From south or central Marin: Take Sir Francis Drake exit from Hwy. 101. Continue west of San Anselmo and turn right on Butterfield Rd. Enter Sleepy Hollow, turn right on Fawn Dr. and follow to on-street parking at MCOSD gate near 390 Fawn. From northern Marin: Take Freitas Pkwy. exit in Terra Linda and follow to end. Park on-street at

Fawn-Freitas to: Terra Linda Ridge (3.25 ml.), or Luiz Ranch Fire IKE: Road high point (3.75 ml.)

Making a dozen separate acquisitions over a 19-year period beginning in 1974, the MCOSD has managed to patch together 1,169 acres of pleasant, rolling-ridge open space that curls above neighborhoods of San Anselmo, San Rafael, and Terra Linda. Be Aware: Watch for poison, and don’t be surprised if the pooch picks up a tick.


For all Fawn-Freitas hikes, take the paved Mission Pass Road up the short, but steep incline to the saddle. Go north on the Terra Linda Ridge Fire Road, coming quickly to a view knoll cabin site for a young priest who once communed with nature here, giving Mission Pass its name. Proceed south along the curving road. You’ll enter mounded grassy hills, with oaks and laurels tucked into their creases. For Terra Linda Ridge, pass three roads on the left, beginning at .5-mile with the next two .25-mile apart; these lead down to Sleepy Hollow. As the Terra Linda Ridge Road curves to your right, you pass the Luiz Ranch Fire Road on the left. Continue almost another .5-mile, reaching a trail junction: A road from the right comes up from Santa Margarita Park, and one to the left from Lucas Valley. Turn around here.

To walk up the scenic spur of the Luiz Ranch Fire Road, keep left at the junction as described above. You’ll pass a junction with the new 680 Trail, and after a little more than .5-mile, and 350-feet of upping, you reach the preserve boundary and its high point at nearly 900 feet. The Luiz Ranch Fire Road was once planned as part of a freeway extension. Today, it is where the neighborhoods end and the nature of the hills becomes dominant. More Stuff: The middle of the Terra Linda Ridge can be accessed via Sleepy Hollow and Irving drives, both of which are right turns off Butterfield. Also, at Mission Pass you can go south on the Fox Lane Trail, which reaches Fawn Drive and connects to San Rafael Ridge, TH93.

Bike: Mission Pass Road is a godsend for anyone trying to ride between San Anselmo-Fairfax and Terra Linda-Marinwood. You also have the option of two loop rides, beginning at the Fawn-Freitas trailhead, which takes in the ridge and return via suburban streets. For the longer of the two, a Lucas Valley loop of some 6.5 miles, head north on the Terra Linda Ridge Road, as described in the first hike above. At about .5-mile past the Luiz Ranch Fire Road, veer left, around a knoll and down to Lucas Valley .5-mile away. Go right on Lucas Valley Road. Across from Lassen Drive, veer right on Old Lucas Valley Road. This sweet stretch of car-free pedaling follows the creek for about a mile and pops back out on the Lucas Valley Road. Not long afterward, go right on Las Gallinas Avenue for 1.5 miles and right again on Freitas Parkway. More Stuff: To reach Loma Alta and West Marin, go left from Terra Linda Ridge onto the Luiz Ranch Road, and then go left again on the 680 Trail, which roughly contours for 2.9 miles before joining the downhill ride to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

For a shorter Santa Margarita Valley loop, of almost 4 miles, begin as described above, only go right down the ravine on the Del Ganado Fire Road, which is almost .5-mile from the Luiz Ranch Fire Road. This short spur drops you down to Del Ganado Way, which you pedal for 1.25 miles and hang a right on Freitas.

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