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Cow Track Ranch

Nicasio, California

38° 4' 33.276'' N122° 42' 25.992'' W

one woman owned & operated 

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“Legacy is not leaving something for people. It's leaving something in people.”
- Peter Strople

Guest Podcast Episodes

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Passion for the agriculture industry and a lifelong commitment to land stewardship carry on through legacy on this very special West Marin canvas which sweeps from the floor of Nicasio Valley up through shady side-canyons to steep slopes overlooking rolling hills. Lush grasslands in the valley give way to a mix of bay and live oak forests and coastal scrub on the slopes. Native bunch grasses persist in hard-to-reach hillside pockets, and redwoods tower in deep tributaries of Halleck Creek. Black Angus & Texas Longhorn cattle graze the land where they raise their calves each year. We believe in sustainability and promoting agriculture for the generations to come. Offering farm stays, events hosting, artisanal homegrown goods and the welcoming experience for guests from near and far to enjoy the beautiful landscape and agricultural experience. 

Farm Stay

We believe in sharing our love for agriculture to those near and far and allowing families to stay while teaching visitors about our ranching culture. Connecting urban families with agriculture and education on where food comes from is our top priority - educating consumers on beef cattle and ranching is something we believe in.  Just a forty-five minute drive North-West of the Golden Gate. Whether you are seeking an overnight escape or a full weekend getaway, we welcome you to come stay & enjoy a gourmet meal with our homegrown beef and pasture raised eggs. We believe in providing a full circle experience - from lodging to cuisine. Our simple wish is to have the next generation get involved, learn the many wonderful things of ranching and leave with a full heart - with memories to share. When we first began our farm stay, offering a unique experience for people from all around the world - it became such a special gift to welcome visitors to the countryside to connect with nature and agriculture. A glimpse into where food is produced and how is such an important component, in a world where experiences seem so limited and with a culture of online. Welcoming families to stay, many of whom come visit every year as their family grows is a large component of educating the next generation. Getting to know guests and sharing the history of this magical canvas is a reward for the labor and love that goes into the ranch. May we blaze the trail for the many generations to follow, so they may continue the great things we have done to preserve the path. 

The Bunk House  

Enjoy a relaxing stay in our rustic and cozy Bunk House nestled beneath the rolling hills of the Nicasio Valley. The Bunk House comfortably accommodates up to five guests and makes for the perfect group getaway with a full kitchen - prepare gourmet meals with the collection of cast iron + pasture raised eggs and homegrown beef available!

The Guest House

Farm Stay Reservations:

The Guest House is a cozy farmhouse for two with an open floor plan, spacious master bedroom and wrap around porch with views of the front pasture and weeping Willow. A bright interior with hardwood floors and the best views of the ranch. Hike up the hill to catch a sunset and enjoy your morning beverage sitting in the rocking chairs as the birds sing.

“We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors;

We Borrow It from Our Children.”

- Chief Seattle


Special Events Hosting

The reception barn - an original 1970's hay barn displays a collection of antique gold mirrors, dimming chandeliers, bistro lighting and a built-in stage for entertainment. A large prep space with tables, refrigeration/freezer and wash area is available for catering along with a serving window for plated or family style service. Two oversized wood doors welcome guests into the tin barn which has one open side providing views of the rolling hills. With a tall roof and a sawdust floor, the barn is authentic and cozy. From the stage, there are views of the ceremony site and the valley through glass windows. Ceremonies take place atop the knoll behind the reception barn by a large rock or in front of the historic wood barn, built in 1871. Enjoy cocktail hour in the barnyard with wine barrels add umbrellas and the corral is a great space for guests to dance the night away under the stars. For photos, the barns, out buildings and natural landscape is endless. A drive up the back side of the ranch offers views of the Nicasio Valley scattered with oak trees, rocks and an array of wildflowers and greenery. Our event packages include a cozy stay at the Bunk House and exclusive use of the property which makes your special  weekend relaxing and enjoyable. Guests have many options for lodging locally, including farm stays, inns, B&Bs and more. West Marin offers an array of restaurants, wonderful cheese shops, kayaking, horseback riding, beach access, hiking and shopping where guests can fully enjoy a destination wedding with everything located within 10 miles. We have been hosting weddings for 15 years and welcome you to make this your special destination. 


Pasture Raised-Grain Finished Beef

Raised with Love +Humanely and Locally Harvested

Angus cattle graze the rolling hills, rotationally, year round and are fed high quality hay between seasons, based on live forage availability. Cattle enjoy year-round access to protein supplements and minerals - keeping their health at peak performance. Feeding my cattle also provides a better bond with our mother cows and contributes to tame cattle that make it easy to gather when it comes time for sorting and round ups for vaccinations and general health checks. When you can rub the faces of mother cows at feeding time, you can't ask for a more gentle herd. My steers enjoy the best life possible with the great weather California has to offer, healthy forage + bonus nutrition along with clean water from our natural spring and stock ponds. Calves are raised along their mother's side until weaning time between six to ten months of age, when its time to convert from a milk and forage diet to grazing forage. The steers here spend a majority of their lives on pasture, with the last 60-90 days in a large space enjoying a nutritious diet including apples, beer malt, corn and molasses. Cattle are checked daily by horseback or ATV and I believe that caring for the livestock ourselves makes for better quality of life and in turn, higher quality beef. Genetics are a large factor for beef quality, marbling and flavor and I carefully hand select beautiful Registered Angus bulls which have proven genetics for my breeding stock. These cattle eat less and gain more, therefore being the most sustainable grazing animals, which contributes largely to a healthy ecosystem. The land speaks for itself with the healthy soil and nutritious forage. Steers are raised with love and humanely processed with local USDA-Certified processing services by JMF.

When supporting small businesses, you'll be rewarded with consuming the highest quality product - guaranteed.
From our ranch to your table, quality beef - raised with love. 
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Certified
Raising quality beef requires hard work and dedication. Certification
is earned, not bought. For beef ranchers, that means using modern techniques to raise cattle under optimal environmental and economic conditions. For consumers, it means knowing the beef they buy is wholesome and delicious. Cattle care, environmental stewardship, herd health, cattle nutrition, transportation and record keeping are the primary categories.

Melissa Daniels proudly serves on the U.S. 
Cattlemens Beef Board 
The Beef Checkoff program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. Under the program, producers and b
eef importers pay a $1-per-head assessment on animals they market.  The Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) oversees the collection and spending of Checkoff funds, with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Qualified State Beef Councils retain half of each dollar they collect for marketing and research programs in their state and other programs as identified by the Council’s board.


Support Your Local Ranchers & Farmers

U.S. Beef Community

Beef cattle are raised in all 50 states and equal 882,692 total cattle & calf operations - of these: 

802,317 are cow/calf and stocker/backgrounder cattle farms and ranches 

96% are family owned and operated 

9% are operated by women 

Cow Track Ranch is 100% woman owned and operated

Melissa serves as a member of the Cattlemen's Beef Board, appointed by the USDA and maintains active membership with county, state and national cattle associations and agricultural committees. She serves as a Master of Beef Advocacy by the National Cattlemens Beef Association and is an activist of regenerative agriculture.

Melissa is also a Beef Quality Assurance Certified producer.

Beef Research and Sustainability

The Drive Beef Newsletter

Beef Quality Assurance Program 


Homegrown Artisan Goods

All Natural Honey

"Where there are bees there are flowers, and wherever there are flowers there is new life and hope.” - Anonymous
Bees are an essential part of our agriculture system, pollinating fruits and vegetables. The hives are located by our ponds where the honey bees have easy access to water. Bees pollinate one-third of the food that we eat and we support a healthy environment for them to do their busy work. Our honey makes the perfect addition to a charcuterie board paired with soft cheeses, assorted jams, nuts and fruit.

Available for purchase exclusively from the ranch 

Swarm of Bees

Our excess produce is made into artisan bar soap which is made by cold-process method. Soaps are offered at local farm stands, markets and boutique retail locations. Seasonal scents include lemon, carrot, pear-mint, carrot, lavender and honey-almond. Made with natural ingredients and moisturizing essential oils, these bars are better for the environment and our labels are made from recycled paper.

Gourmet Garden Soap


 Rosemary Cooking Salts 

Sun dried rosemary and sea salt is a delicious gourmet addition to any meal. A few dashes of this for the main course or add after a marinade to bring out the richest flavor. Potatoes roast to perfection when lightly coated with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Rosemary salt pairs perfectly with beef, poultry, pork, fish, wild game and vegetables. We also offer a seasonal lavender sea salt - a dash on vanilla bean ice cream is a little secret worth sharing. In addition to the kitchen, the salt can be used for a relaxing and soothing soak to ease daily stress or use as a body scrub, just add a few drops of essential oils to turn it into a bath luxury. 
Available for purchase at Marin French Cheese, Nicasio Cheese and The Farm Stand Forest Knolls 

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Ranch History & Heritage

Michael McNamara and Cornelius Murray arrived in Nicasio in 1859 and bought the land. The two had a falling out and divided the land into two parts with this piece being the McNamara Ranch. Having built a fine two-story farmhouse, they chose to saw it in half. Using oxen and work horses, they moved one half on log rollers for about a mile to Murray's portion of the ranch where it was re-build into a whole new house. The ranch was leased out from the 1920's as a dairy farm and then sold in 1971 where it continued to be a dairy and eventually became a part of our family in 1987 when my father Dr. Bruce Daniels, a veterinarian, was treating a sick cow for Walt Tamagno in the milking barn where Walt offered the ranch for sale. Bruce and Walt made a handshake deal and Walt retired from the dairy business and remained a good friend where he and his family visited often. Liz and Bruce worked together, along with their daughter Melissa, to partner with the land. Together, they raised beef cattle and Liz grew Certified Organic produce on 5 acres. Produce was sold to local markets, farmers markets, farm stands, restaurants, catering companies, school lunch programs and food banks. Liz partnered with many non-profit organizations and hosted many different groups to learn about farming at the ranch. Her knack for having hands in the dirt was shared with hundreds of individuals where she took pride in making a positive impact in the lives of those needing it most, to teach people of all walks of life that anyone can become a farmer with a little patience and time.
Today, Melissa is continuing the legacy running the ranch making homegrown products and has expanded the beef operation.

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