Discover & Learn

Get outside and explore your parks and preserves this spring.

Rangers Recommend

Stafford Lake Park

Trees with golden fall leaves next to Stafford Lake

As days grow shorter, black oaks along the water put on a scenic display. Take an easy stroll on paths next to the reservoir, then relax in a colorful string hammock. Kids can play games and enjoy the playground next to a redwood grove, complete with with action-oriented ziplines. Stretch your legs by hiking the 2-mile Terwilliger Nature Trail, a gentle ascent through grasslands dotted with buckeye, coast live oak, white oaks, and California bay trees.

  • 1-2 miles
  • Easy to moderate
  • Mostly flat; gentle climb on Terwilliger Trail

Mount Burdell Preserve

Giant oak tree in Bowman Canyon

This preserve holds some of the mightiest valley oaks in Marin. There are also impressive coast live oaks, black oaks, and blue oaks. Start at the gate at the end of San Andreas Drive, heading out on San Andreas Fire Road. Turn right onto Middle Burdell Fire Road, passing the seasonal vernal pool called Hidden Lake. After crossing Old Quarry Trail, take a sharp right at the second junction, on to Salt Lick Fire Road, where hillsides above the grasslands are dotted with valley oaks. Follow to the junction where it joins San Carlos Fire Road, which loops right onto San Marin Fire Road, heading back past the water tanks to where you started on San Andreas.

  • 4.5 miles
  • 700 foot elevation gain
  • Strenuous

Free Ranger, Naturalist, and Volunteer Events

Naturalist Notes

Northern Elephant Seal

Northern Elephant Seal

These giants of the sea grow as long as thirteen feet and weigh up to 4,500 pounds. After spending months in the water, pods of seals haul out in California and Mexico during winter. Males parade the beaches, posturing and snorting to impress prospective mates. Mothers live with their pups for only about 28 days, then shove off into the ocean, leaving groups of youngsters on the shoreline to mature together. On their own, the pups explore how to swim and feed on squid and fish. In the open ocean, mature elephant seals can dive for up to two hours at a time, descending as far as 5,000 feet below the surface. If you spot elephant seals, do not approach–observe quietly from a safe distance. Add sightings of Mirounga angustirostris to iNaturalist.

Volunteer Opportunities

Young girl planting native flowers at Creekside

Creekside Restoration

Marin County Parks and One Tam are enriching important habitat areas at Hal Brown Park and Creekside Marsh. This community-based effort is installing a diverse palette of native plants at a site once dominated by invasive grasses and weeds. This is just one of many opportunities for volunteers to help support thriving and beautiful ecosystems in Marin County parks and preserves.