From the Novato Valley, this oak-studded mountain rises 1,558 feet to a summit which offers breathtaking views of the entire Bay Area. Along the way, visitors pass through lush grasslands and impressive forests that contain some of the finest (and oldest) specimens of oak and bay trees in Marin. Along the slopes above San Marin Drive there are areas where serpentine soils give rise to rare and unusual plants, as well as fertile grasslands that glow with spring colors during wildflower season. Hidden Lake, a seasonal pond located about halfway to the top, is home to an assortment of rare plants and is swarming with frogs, salamanders and other creatures during the wet season.
On the western edge of the preserve, a wildlife area is traversed by the Dwarf Oak Trail, a perfect place to enjoy a quiet stroll among wildflowers, shady trees and abundant wildlife. The dry, open country on the slopes of this mountain is home to many species of birds that are scarce in the rest of Marin. During a few spring months, certain portions of the preserve are grazed by small herds of domestic cattle. This practice helps to reduce the non-native grasses which have a tendency to overcrowd many native species. Please be sure to close all gates you encounter to keep the cattle in their proper pastures.
The Mount Burdell Preserve (1627 acres) was purchased in 1977 by the MCOSD and the San Marin Improvement Association, a group made up of San Marin neighbors. At the time of purchase, the slopes and water sources were suffering from decades of overgrazing. Proper land management practices and habitat restoration efforts have significantly improved this landscape of springs and delicate soils, which continue to improve each year.
South access: from Hwy 101 in Novato, take the exit for San Marin Dr west 2.1 miles. Turn right onto San Carlos Way and follow to end (dead end).
East access: from Hwy 101 in Novato, take the exit for San Marin Dr west, turn right at Redwood Blvd, turn left at Wood Hollow Dr, and turn left at Fieldstone Dr. Trailhead is on the right.
West access: from Hwy 101 in Novato, take the exit for San Marin Dr west 2.3 miles. Turn right onto San Andreas Dr and follow approximately 0.5 miles. The gate is on the right (before dead end).
Visit walkbikemarin.org, transitandtrails.org, 511.org, or dial 511 to find out about alternative transportation and public transit options from your location.
Among the best places in Marin to see many birds such as Lazuli Buntings, Lark Sparrows, and House Wrens. The incredible diversity of habitats and plants found here make it a great butterfly watching place, and if you like reptiles and amphibians this is a premier destination.