Freitas Parkway / Terra Linda Hike: Marin County Loop Hikes
The Freitas Parkway / Terra Linda Hike Features Incredible Views of Mt. Tamalpais!
Looking for a 45-minute dog-friendly hike in Marin County with easy access, beautiful views, and lots of options? Most locals refer to this as the “end of Freitas (Parkway) hike” because the parking and trailhead for this hike are at the very end of Freitas Parkway in the Terra Linda area of San Rafael. However, the offical name is the Terra Linda / Sleepy Hollow Ridge Fire Road. This popular trailhead actually connects to an enormous network of hiking and biking trails, suitable for anything from a 45 minute loop hike (detailed here) to an all-day hike deep into the countryside.
“Dog-friendly” is an understatement for this hike. From the bags / trash receptacles provided at the trailhead to the ability to walk dogs off-leash under voice control up on the fire road, this is probably the #1 hike for our four-legged canine friends in Marin County. A hike here is like watching the Westminster Dog Show, with a variety of breeds represented!
FREITAS PARKWAY HIKE — GETTING THERE
This hike features plenty of easy parking at the end of Freitas Parkway in Terra Linda. From Hwy 101, take the Freitas Parkway exit and head west until it dead-ends at the trail head. Easy!
Please remember to be respectful of the nearby neighbors and keep noise to a minimum.
(Side Note: during the building boom of the 1950s, the original plan for Freitas Parkway was “to have three lanes each way (currently there are two) that would have crossed over the ridge into the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood of San Anselmo. This design was never finished after those lands were purchased by the public and placed into the care of the Marin County Open Space District).”
FREITAS PARKWAY HIKE QUICK FACTS
- Gorgeous views: Mt. Tam, Terra Linda, Sleepy Hollow (San Anselmo), the Bay
- About 45 mins / 3 miles
- Fairly well-signed and easy to follow
- Moderate grade suitable for beginner to intermediate hikers – can easily tailor the hike based on all the options
- No drinking fountains or restrooms
- Poison oak plentiful throughout the trail – stay on the trail and you will be fine
- Initial trail (asphalt): dogs on leash
- Fire road: dogs under voice command – click here for a list of dog-friendly hiking locations
- Excellent cell service (Verizon and AT&T)
- Wheelchair access: challenging
- Watch dogs especially during coyote mating season.
- Garbage / recycling cans provided. Dog waste bags provided.
- Be respectful of neighbors and always yield to horses, keeping dogs away from them
- Do not leave valuables in car
FREITAS PARKWAY / TERRA LINDA HIKE MAPS
Terra Linda / Sleep Hollow Area Map:
Map of this hike:
(Follow yellow highlighted trail towards west then go counter-clockwise around the “loop” portion)
There are a variety of hikes one can take from the Freitas Parkway trailhead depending on amount of time and other factors. The loop hike highlighted in yellow above takes about 45 minutes, providing a good workout and scenic views.
FREITAS PARKWAY / TERRA LINDA
- Park along Freitas Parkway in the parallel parking spaces along the curb.
- Enter through trailhead at end of Freitas Parkway. This first part is called the “Mission Pass Path” and connects Freitas to Fawn Drive in San Anselmo.
- After 5 mins walk along the Mission Pass Path, you will come to a trail intersection with another “rules” sign. Take your first right and head up the hill.
- Walk about half a mile along the Terra Linda Ridge Fire Road. In the first 5 minutes you would come to a plateau with a pretty view of Mt. Tamalpais. Follow the trail west.
- After the half mile portion, you will see a hill ahead with a trail to the left and a trail to the right, and one steep one that goes up and over the hill. Go right at this intersection and continue along the Terra Linda Ridge Fire Road.
- After another third of a mile, you will see the Montecillo Trail to the right. Ignore this trail and keep going straight. The Montecillo Trail leads down to a neighborhood of homes in Terra Linda along Montecillo Road.
- You will come to another junction. You can either go straight to extend this hike, or preferably turn left here and you’ll be on the Irving Fire Road, looping around the big hill you saw earlier, and returning back to the trailhead.
- Keep following the trail counter-clockwise around the hill and keep going left at trail splits. You will see another trail going off to the right… that’s the Sleepy Hollow Fire Road. Ignore this one as well and keep left.
- You will be back at the intersection in #5 above. Go right to head back the way you came towards Mission Pass Path, where you will go left to return to the trail head and your car at the end of Freitas Parkway.
Please scroll down to see the visual walkthrough below.
FREITAS PARKWAY / TERRA LINDA HIKE
This the trailhead for the Mission Pass Path at the end of Freitas Parkway in San Rafael. After a short walk up, it connects to the Terra Linda Ridge Fire Road.
View from trailhead Towards Freitas Parkway. As you can see, there is plenty of parking.
Stop near the trailhead to pick up a dog waste bag and read the rules of the road. Be respectful of the neighbors!
The first five minutes of the hike is along the paved Mission Pass Path. You’ll take the first trail on the right at the top of the hill.
Turn right here. If you go straight you end up on Fawn Drive in San Anselmo. If you turn left you end up on Fox Lane in San Anselmo.
You’re now on the Terra Linda Fire Ridge Road. A plateau and view are just ahead.
This is the plateau. Keep going straight here and then turn right at the end.
As you continue on the trail you’ll get your first view of Mt. Tamalpais. I always stop here to look at the pretty Italian farmhouse to the left with the cypress trees.
The trail continues straight here with Mt. Tam to your left and behind you. Up ahead you keep left at the hill.
Turn around for a moment and enjoy the view.
You are now approaching the large hill… you will turn right up ahead and loop around it counter-clockwise.
You’re coming from the right side of this photo and you’ll be turning to your right to stay on the Terra Linda Ridge Fire Road and loop around the big hill. You can also go over the hill (straight) if you’re looking for more of a workout.
I am guessing that by this time in the hike you have already seen at least 5 cute dogs, 10 on a weekend.
You’re now hiking on the right (north) side of the big hill, with a pretty view of Terra Linda coming up.
At the clearing you’ll see a gorgeous view of Terra Linda and the Bay to your right (north and east).
On your right you’ll see the Monticello Trail which leads down to Monticello Road and Terra Linda. Keep going straight.
The trail becomes sunnier as you approach the intersection ahead where you’ll either go left to loop back or straight to extend this hike.
You will be approaching from the right of this picture, and at this intersection you turn left on the Irving Fire Road to loop back. You can also go straight to extend your hike.
As you loop back on the Irving Fire Road, you’ll be greeted with my favorite vista of the entire hike.
Keep left at this intersection. The Irving Fire Road goes down to the right to Irving Drive. Keep left to return back to the “T” and backtrack to Mission Pass Path.
Usually this is where I say “I can’t believe I live here!”
After a few minutes you’ll be back at Mission Pass Path. Turn left here to return to your car on Freitas Parkway.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my article about one of my favorite hikes at the end of Freitas Parkway. If this is your first visit to my Marin Real Estate and Lifestyle Blog, please have a look at my other articles. They all feature original articles about the things that make Marin County such a great place to live — restaurants, hikes, and even profiles of those who live here.
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