On a ridgeline above Muir Beach, the Dias Ridge Trail unfolds breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Marin Headlands and provides several regional trail connections. Named for one of the Portuguese dairy ranchers who once owned large tracts of land in the hills of western Marin, Dias Ridge also links visitors to the region’s agricultural history.
While popular, the previous trail at Dias Ridge was also well known for its problems. For years, a steep, old ranching road running up the hillside was the only path shared by hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Built when the site was still a farm, the road had never been sited with ecological sustainability in mind, and over the years heavy use had also caused significant erosion. Some of that sediment was ending up in Redwood Creek—damaging the spawning grounds of the endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout.
In 2009, the Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and California State Parks took a landscape-level approach to removing the eroded road and creating a new multi-use trail.
The Dias Ridge Trail project was designed to achieve several complementary objectives:
- Improving visitor experience with trail tread enhancements and signage
- Restoring native plant and wildlife habitat, including for endangered species
- Promoting community stewardship
- Enhancing the Bay Area Ridge Trail system
- Improving drainage into Redwood Creek
- Enhancing multi-user (hikers, bikers, and equestrians) compatibility and safety
When trail construction was completed in 2010, it had added three miles of new trail, was a model of safety and environmentally sensitive trail design, and bridged a gap in the larger regional Bay Area Ridge Trail system. Although revegetation and habitat restoration were completed in 2013, volunteers and staff continue stewardship at this site.
Partners and Supporters
The renovation of the Dias Ridge Trail was a partnership project of the National Park Service, California State Parks, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy through the Trails Forever program.
Volunteers also played a crucial role in creating the beautiful landscape that visitors to Dias Ridge enjoy today. The Conservation Corps North Bay and other volunteers planted 30,000 native plants grown in our own native plant nurseries, and AmeriCorps interns, youth, and schools in Marin City and San Rafael also supported stewardship efforts. Learn how you can contribute to ongoing stewardship activities across Marin.
In addition to donations from thousands of individual community members, Dias Ridge Trail improvements were made possible through support from:
- Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
- Bay Area Ridge Trail Council
- California Coastal Conservancy
- Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act