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Bald Hill Preserve

Ever since the San Anselmo Open Space Committee was founded back in 1981, our top priority has been the preservation of Bald Hill and its environs. Visible from nearly every place in the Ross Valley, the iconic hilltop had long been a favorite of hikers. But few knew that it remained private property. Nestled against the borders of San Anselmo, Ross, Fairfax, and the Marin Municipal Water District lands, the ridge was considered a high priority for preservation due to its history, scenic views, and potential for residential development.

 

The first steps were taken in 1993, when the Committee began negotiating to purchase four properties on the ridgeline north of Bald Hill. In late 1996 the Open Space Committee announced the purchase of five spectacular acres on Bald Hill Ridge. This parcel, formerly known as the Quilici property, became part of the larger 30-acre Bald Hill Ridge Preserve, managed by the Marin County Open Space District.

In 2015 the 16-acre Sky Ranch was added to the preserve after a very
successful fundraising campaign led by the Marin Open Space Trust, partially funded by the Committee. The preserve grew to 46 acres.

 

This preserve is at the second highest elevation along this vital ridgeline and
greenbelt and is highly visible land that can be seen from many parts of San
Anselmo.

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In 2023, after a 35 year effort, your Open Space Committee was instrumental in
assisting the Marin Open Space Trust in acquiring the 60 acre- summit of Bald
Hill. It has been conveyed to Marin County Parks and Open Space and is now
public land. The two sections of the 106-acre Bald Hill Preserve are connected
by Worn Springs Fire Road.


The purchase price of approximately $3,950,000 for all five properties was
funded by grants and hundreds of private donations.

Access & Trails:

From the Hub, proceed west on Center Boulevard. Turn left on Redwood Road.
Look for a sign on the right, park safely, and follow a very steep trail up to the
preserve.

 

Another access is to park at Phoenix Lake in Ross and come up over Bald Hill. A third is to go west from the Hub on Sir Francis Drake to the town of Fairfax. Turn left on Pastori, make the first right onto Broadway, and then turn left onto Bolinas. Drive about 0.5 mile, then turn left onto Porteous Avenue. The road almost immediately splits (this junction is unsigned); bear right to remain on Porteous. Drive about 0.5 mile to the end of the road. Park at Deer Park School. Walk around the school to the left and take the trail that goes uphill to the left. When you reach Worn Springs Fire Road at the top, turn left to descend to the former Sky Ranch, turn right to walk along the ridge top. The preserve will be on
your left.

Distance: 1.10 miles each way

Elevation: 500’ climb

Difficultly: It is not difficult for families in reasonable shape, but might be too much for small children.

Dogs are permitted on-leash. No more than three dogs per person. Please clean up after your dog. No poop bags, trash cans, or water are available.

No bikes or horses.

Part of the trail is in the sun and can be hot in warm weather. As always, take water. 

From Deer Park, walk around the school to the soccer field and turn left to the signed Deer Park Trail at 200’ elevation. The trail climbs through three long switchbacks to the Worn Springs Fire Road at .89 miles and 535’ elevation. Admire the views of Lagunitas Watershed and Mount Tamalpais. Turn right onto the Fire Road. The preserve is the land on the left side of the fire road. Climb to the high point of the ridge at 1.10 miles and 700’ elevation for spectacular 360° views. A meadow on your left is a good spot for a picnic. San Anselmo and San Rafael lay below, backed by San Rafael Ridge and San Pedro Mountain, with San Pablo Bay beyond.

Alternative return route: A scenic and easy return route is to continue east on the fire road. At 1.28 miles Buckeye Trail cuts off sharply on your right. Turn right to return to the Deer Park Trail for a total hike of about 2½ miles.

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