About Ross

Helpful Links | Ross is nestled in amongst lush, tree-covered hills, winding creeks, and graciously landscaped streets and gardens, which are some of California's most beautiful homes.

Strict zoning restrictions have limited development in Ross to about 900 unique and unobstructed homes. In the 1800s, expansive estates were built by wealthy San Franciscans as holiday getaways. The Town Council strives to preserve and enhance its historical, low-density character and identity with schools that rank amongst the highest in the nation.


Ross History

For thousands of years prior to 1800, the Coast Miwok Indians lived and were sustained by the land that is now called Ross Valley. The Coast Miwok revered the land, plants, and animals of the Ross Valley through tribal cultural beliefs and practices. European diseases eventually decimated the Indian population. The settlement in 1817 of Mission San Rafael, with its vast land holding, also resulted in further incursions into areas occupied by the Coast Miwok Indians.

After the Mexican Revolution of 1821, the land grant system of parceling out land gave rise to what we now know as Marin County. Ross was originally part of an 8,877-acre Mexican land grant to Juan B.R. Cooper in 1840 known as Ranch Punta de Quentin Canada de San Anselmo. The town of Ross itself was named in honor of James Ross, who purchased the land in 1857 for $50,000. Ross built his home on Redwood Drive and moved there with his wife and three children. When James Ross died in 1862 his wife, Annie Ross, was forced to sell a portion of James Ross' larger land holdings to pay each of their daughters $10,000. The 297 acres she had remaining make up part of the Town of Ross today.

Once Ross was incorporated one of the first actions of the new town council was to make it illegal to cut down trees without the town's approval. Soon the streets were paved, streetlights erected, concrete bridges built over the creek and a firehouse constructed. Thanks to the foresight of Ross' early leaders, the town today rests under a leafy canopy that is unique in Marin County.


Location | Climate | Weather

Ross is located in the County of Marin, California approximately 18 miles north of San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge. Ross is 1.6 square miles and has 2,401 residents. Ross' town center includes the Ross Common, the nationally renowned Ross School, and the charming, albeit small, Ross commercial area.

Experiencing a Mediterranean climate, Ross' temperature ranges from an average low of 41 degrees to a high of 83 degrees. The rainfall averages 48 inches per year. This temperate weather and amazing location are perfect for outdoor recreation.



Ross School is located on beautiful Ross Common is a kindergarten-8 grade facility. In 2012 Ross School scored 943 according to the California Department of Education Academic Performance Index (API) making it one of the highest-rated elementary schools in California.

The Branson School is a co-educational, independent, college-preparatory day school with 320 boys and girls in grades 9 to 12. In 2014 22% of Branson's graduating class was recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

The children of Ross homeowners attend Redwood High School, which is nationally ranked and recognized as one of the premier schools in the nation with some of the State's highest test scores, rates of graduation, and college acceptance. Click Helpful Links for more information.



Ross has commuter buses to speed you into downtown San Francisco in 60 minutes. The estimated drive time is 30 minutes without commute traffic. Alternatively, the Larkspur Ferry Terminal crosses the Bay to San Francisco in 40 minutes. For a schedule and fees please visit Golden Gate Transit for more details.


Things To Do

Ross is known for its sophisticated country living. Its crowning jewel is the Marin Art and Garden Center which features art, history, horticulture, and environmental programs. The Ross Valley Players produces diverse, professional quality live theater that evokes entertains, and enlivens the human spirit. Ross' July 4th event is an annual town occasion. Citizens line Ross Common Park to watch and cheer the rolling parade of vintage cars, local dignitaries, schools, scouts, and anyone else who wants to join in the fun.

There's a town picnic in Ross Common Park with games and activities for the entire family. To see the latest in local emerging artists visit Sam the Butcher Contemporary Art on Poplar Avenue. This non-profit organization helps emerging artists with exhibitions, publishing, online catalogs, and publicity.


Parks & Recreation

Ross has easy access to Mt. Tamalpais' many hiking and biking trails. Phoenix Lake is a lovely walk along its shore with views of the surrounding hills. Bicycling is ideal in Ross' gently rolling landscape. For the more adventurous the many bike trails on the Mountain are known worldwide. Ross Recreation is a self-sustaining agency formed in 1972 to provide recreational enrichment and community service for the residents of Ross and their neighbors. The department has grown from just a handful of classes to more than 100 classes per year for ages 2 to seniors.



Fine dining and casual cafes can be found in Ross. Marche aux Fleurs features the cuisine of the seasons, locally sourced and prepared with the utmost skill. Cafe Ross is a local hang-out where one can enjoy an excellent cup of coffee, or a meal and enjoy the lovely outdoor patio. Trattoria Fresco offers a variety of delicious appetizers and salads freshly made pasta, seafood, and outstanding grilled entrees. And visit Eddie's Woodland Market for fine deli foods and snacks. Click Helpful Links for more information about Ross.



Ross' very own Breaking Away Bikes has everything from the casual rider to a mountain biker. Busy Bees is American prep dressing for children at its best. Effortless clothing that is sophisticated yet approachable, sporty, and chic. Click Helpful Links for more information about Ross shopping.

More about Ross