Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve is a real mutts-visit for pups and people looking for outdoor exercise in and around San Rafael, CA! The trails here feature some of the most spectacular views in the entire Bay Area. The preserve is quite close to Skywalker Ranch, but it’s not actually named after George Lucas -- the name comes from John Lucas, an Irish immigrant who owned land there in the late nineteenth century. Lucas Valley Open Preserve doesn’t have a dedicated parking lot -- you’ll find streetside parking on Lucas Valley Road.
All the trails in Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve lead to Big Rock Ridge, one of the most gorgeous viewpoints in Marin County. Expect 360-degree panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount St. Helena, and the Pacific Ocean, among other landmarks. Whichever route you take is likely to feature some steep inclines! Fitter furry friends looking for a challenge might want to try Luiz Fire Road.
Like almost all fire roads in Marin County open spaces, this one allows free roaming fur-balls -- pooches can sniff and explore off-leash as long as they stay under strict voice control. Your pup will pay a steep price for their freedom, though, as some of the inclines on the fire road are truly punishing. The Big Rock Trail is probably the most frequented, and a little more forgiving, wandering up oak-studded hills and boasting views of Skywalker Ranch and the artificial Lake Ewok. Other paths feature wide open meadows and gorgeous wildflowers in the spring.
As you might have gathered, walking the trails at Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve requires a certain level of fitness -- those with serious mobility issues or older four-pawed pals should probably give this one a miss. There isn’t much in the way of facilities, either. The park doesn’t have any restrooms or running water. Still, if you and your pooch are relatively robust and ready to "ruff" it, you’re sure to have a fantastic time at Lucas Valley Open Space Preserve!