West from Buckelew Ridge
"Buckelew Ridge" (unnamed on topo, Buckelew is the name of the property owner on the 7.5 topo) is a big sprawling open plateau in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in west Marin County. It is bordered by Lagunitas Creek to the west, Nicasio Creek to the north, Nicasio Reservoir to the east and Devils Gulch to the south.
This is a seldom visited area. You may meet a few people in Devil's Gulch but the only folks you're likely to meet on the ridge are cattle! Devils Gulch is a mostly forested canyon but once you swing up an easy switchback it opens to grassy views of the west Marin high country. The easy route is approximately 7 miles round trip and about a 1,000' gain.
From Hwy. 101 in Larkspur take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. exit west 3.8 miles to "The Hub" (the big intersection) in San Anselmo. Continue to the left (west) on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. another 12.5 miles through Samuel P. Taylor State Park to the off-road parking on the left at the Devils Gulch sign.
Cross the road and take the paved road into Devils Gulch. After less than a mile beyond the paved cul de sac the road turns to an unmaintained dirt 2 track and continues though the canyon around the base of the ridge to a switchback at 2.5 miles from the start of the hike. Go back up to the left at the switchback another mile as it curves up around to the right on an easy open slope to the high point on the left. The open plateau continues to the northwest about 2 miles. There is a barbed wire fence to easily negotiate right near the top.
Buckelew Ridge plateau
This is cattle country within the boundaries of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There is some private property towards the northeast end of the ridge and the ocassional barbed wire fence. No permits are required for this hike.
When to Climb
Buckelew Ridge east view
This is a year-round hike. Spring time is the best time when the hills are green and flowers abound. The Devil's Gulch section has small stream crossings that can be muddy during the rainy season and a few easy downed trees to get over.
North end of Buckelew Ridge looking back towards the high point on the right
Camping is available in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Click here
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