Raise your hand if you live in a town where you can see cows.
*raises hand* 🙌🏼
Mt. Burdell in Novato is a relaxing way to spend a couple hours outdoors, and —bonus! — you get to see cows and beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay.
Should you ever find yourself in the sleepy town of Novato, California (because you never know), and you happen to love traipsing around the great outdoors, plan a pit stop to Mt. Burdell. It’s an open space preserve with a network of trails and incredible views of the Bay.
First things first: It’s totally free (YOU KNOW I LOVE FREE), totally doable for small children and seniors, and easy to find. (Take San Marin Drive up the hill all the way to the top; you can’t miss it.) Best of all, there are cows. 🐄🐂🐃
Lots and lots of cows…
They hang out on the hillside along the trail, just chillin’ and doing what cows do. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. I think they’re super cool.
We went for a short family hike there last weekend and enjoyed the views, the animals, and the wildflowers. 🌻
It isn’t hot here yet, but it isn’t cold either (upper-60s, low-70s), so it’s pleasant outside, but if you happen to stop by in the summer, it would be better to hit the trail early in the morning, since there’s almost *no* shade along the trails.
You don’t have to be an avid backpacker or outdoorsy person to enjoy the trails, either. We walked along the wide fire roads, which aren’t too steep, and they’re easily traversable. It’s a very family friendly hike.
- Eagle Rim Trail is now open for hiking and cycling. For spectacular views take Cobblestone Fire Road (part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail) up to Eagle Rim, and enjoy vistas of Big Rock Ridge, Mount Tam, San Francisco Bay, Mount Diablo, and more.
- At the summit, a four foot stone wall, hand laid without mortar in the 1870s by Chinese laborers, marks the boundary into Olompali Historic State Park.
- Gently graded Deer Camp Fire Road passes through classic California oakland and stands of massive old bay trees. Take a rest in the shade at Pierre Joske Grove.
- The west slope of Burdell holds the remnants of a quarry that supplied cobblestones for San Francisco streets in the late 1880s. Fieldstone Trail leads to another old quarry, which provided andesite for the widening of Highway 101 in the 1950s.
- Old Quarry Trail is the steepest designated trail in the open space district. The grueling climb is not for the faint of heart.
- Cattle have grazed Burdell since the arrival of European settlers. Holstein dairy cows continue to graze here seasonally, helping to manage invasive plants and reduce fire fuel.
- Dogs are welcome. Dogs must be leashed on trail, and under voice command on fire roads, with leash readily available.
Be aware of two important animal-related items, though: 1) It’s tick country, so be mindful, and do a thorough tick inspection when you get home. 2) Mountain lions and rattlesnakes are occasionally spotted in the area, so if you have very small children, don’t let them wander too far away from you.
Also, since there aren’t any restrooms or water fountains at the trailhead, you might want to take care of all that before you head on up.
Happy hiking! 🤗🙌🏼🌈🌻
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,