Surface soil moisture was retrieved from the L-band radiometer data collected in semiarid regions during the Soil Moisture Experiment in 2004. The 2-D synthetic aperture radiometer (2D-STAR) was flown over regional-scale study sites located in AZ, USA, and Sonora, Mexico (SO). The study sites are characterized by a range of topographic relief with a land cover that varies from bare soil to grass and scrubland and includes areas with high rock fraction near the soil surface. The 2D-STAR retrieval of soil moisture was in good agreement with the ground-based estimates of surface soil moisture in both AZ (raise = 0.012 m3 m-3) and SO (rmse = 0.011 m3 m-3). The 2D-STAR also showed a good performance in the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (rmse = 0.014 m3 m-3) where the surface soil featured high rock fraction was as high as 60%. Comparison of the results with the Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer at the Cand X-band data indicates the superior soil moisture retrieval performance of the L-band data over the regions with high rock fraction and moderate vegetation density.