Hike to Petroglyphs on Ring Mountain
When you’re on a hike, do you focus on the big picture or the small details? Here’s a hike that lets you do both with ease. Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve next to Tiburon is famous for its baywitching scenery—sweeping from the Bay Bridge to the tips of the Golden Gate. But it’s also home to ancient Coastal Miwok petroglyphs found on large serpentine boulders dotting the hillside. See the largest of them on a 4-mile (round-trip) hike that starts from the Via Los Altos access point. Head up a short set of stairs to reach the trail and ascend a moderately rolling ridge trail that brings views of the San Francisco skyline and the sailboats in the marinas of southern Marin. At a half mile in, you’ll reach the gated Ring Mountain Fire Road, marking the official entrance to Ring Mountain. The next half-mile is the steepest, but at the top … you get the big picture! All of Mount Tam unfolds to the west while to the east you can trace the Richmond Bridge to the rolling East Bay hills. Continue another quarter of a mile down the fire road before making like Indiana Jones and taking a short (roughly 50 meter) singletrack to the petroglyph rock. The large fenced-off rock is protected as a unique cultural resource because of the circular ring carvings, created centuries ago. The meaning of the symbol remains a mystery; see if you can figure it out.
To reach the Via Los Altos access, exit the 101 freeway at CA-131/Tiburon Blvd. and head east for 0.8 mile. Turn left on Blackfield Dr. Go 0.4 mile and make a left on Via Los Altos. Follow it 0.5 mile uphill to the end of the road. There’s limited parking on the side of the road at the start of the trail marked by a set of stairs and a sign directing towards Tiburon Ridge Trail. No dogs.
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