Hikers: Carol, Linda and Nat (humans) | Kacee, Elvis, Glory and Willow (dogs)
Start Time: 8:00 a.m. at the Chicken Shack Fire Road entrance near Clay Ct and Alameda del Prado in Novato.
Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve is an expansive 1271 acre gem that offers incredible views. It’s highlight, the Big Rock Ridge trail reaches its highest point at 1895 feet. It is the second highest point in Marin, the first being Mount Tamalpais. Acclaimed director and creator of Star Wars, George Lucas, donated 800 acres of land, enabling the creation of the preserve and the gentle up-slope of Big Rock Trail that now connects to Big Rock Ridge. Before the trail opened, hikers had to reach the Big Rock Ridge summit via the super steep Luiz Fire Road. Lucas Valley however close to Skywalker Ranch, is not named after George Lucas as some people (myself included) think, it is actually named after an Irish immigrant named John Lucas, who owned a sizable chunk (2,340 acres to be exact) back in the 1860s. This is a great trail to spy on birds of prey. Deer are commonly sighted, especially in slightly more covered areas near the Loma Verde and Pacheco Valle preserves.
Leash Laws: Dogs can be off-leash and under strict voice control and within sight on fire roads, must be on leash on all other marked trails, in parking lots, and developed areas.
Trail Difficulty: This park is ideally suited to moderate and experienced hikers. Parts of Chicken Shack and Big Rock Ridge are fairly steep and gravelly. There are great portions of the trail with no shade, so water and sun protection is important. It’s on the longer end, so we recommend packing a lunch and parking one car at the Clay Ct. entrance and the other at the end of the Big Rock Ridge trail on Lucas Valley Road in San Rafael.
Other information: Portions of both the Big Rock Trail and the fire road along the ridge are trail easements that cross private property, so pay attention to all trail signs posted along the way.
Route: Chicken Shack fire road – Big Rock Ridge fire road – Redwood Canyon fire road – Big Rock Trail .
Duration: Roughly around 10 miles, 5 hours.