Marin Lifestyle

Novato Hiking Guide

Novato Hiking Guide

It’s no secret that Marin County has some of the best hiking trails in the Bay Area. Located in the northern area of the county, the city of Novato is situated among beautiful hills, wetlands, and valleys offering an array of hiking trails for its residents and visitors to explore year-round. With over 2,600 acres of open space, Novato has more options than anywhere else in Marin County. Depending on your fitness level, you can choose from short scenic walks to advanced level hikes, all easily accessible from the downtown area. There’s no need to travel far in search of stunning views. For your next hiking adventure, we’ve picked some of the best trails ideal for any mood.

Mount Burdell

You’ll find some of the best hiking trails in northern Marin at Mount Burdell! This mountain is suitable for hikers of all levels of fitness. There’s no need to hike all the way up to enjoy beautiful views and wildlife. You may choose to stay on the lower pathways. Dogs are allowed as well as horseback riding. If you are craving a good outdoor workout you can climb up to the top of the mountain. The elevation is around 1,500 feet. There are three different routes to get there with the most popular being the Old Quarry Loop, approximately 5.5 miles long. At the end, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the bay and Mount Templeton. If you are ready to enjoy the gorgeous scenery that Mount Burdell has to offer, make sure to wear protective clothing and watch out for ticks, especially in the spring and summer months.

Stafford Lake

Perfect for families with children or an easy stroll, this beautiful lake is only three miles away from downtown Novato. Great place to relax and unwind after work or on the weekends without having to go too far from the city. The park features picnic and BBQ areas, disc golf course, volleyball, playground, horseshoe courts and much more. In case biking is your favorite activity, you can find a range of trails ideal for all levels. While swimming is not allowed at this lake, fishing is! Species that live in Stafford Lake waters are catfish, bluegill, and bass. In addition to outdoor fitness activities, many events take place at this location including concerts and festivals. The park is open year-round and the hours vary depending on the season. Before you go, check the park hours and entrance fees.

Rush Creek Preserve

Whether you like hiking, biking, walking, or bird watching, this 522 acres preserve has something for everyone. It features mostly flat trails, ideal for hiking with children. It is also known as the best location for birdwatching in the North Bay. Over 196 species of birds can be seen here including Red-winged Blackbirds and Sandpipers. In addition to birds, animals such as fox, coyotes, deer, and jackrabbits can be found in this diverse wildlife location. A five-minute drive from the downtown by Highway 101 will take you to this serene place. There’s plenty of parking for the visitors. It is usually never crowded and you can enjoy the natural treasures of this preserve right here in the heart of Novato!


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