Hiking with the Sonoma Activity Group

Looking over one of the many open meadows in the preserve. In the distance two riders on horseback can be seen.
User: Austin Explorer - 4/29/2018

Location: Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve

Difficulty:  Solitude:
Miles Hiked: 3.68 Miles  Elapsed Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes


Coppertone and I headed to a new hiking area for us, prompted by an organized hike sponsored by the Sonoma Activity Group.  On a previous outing at a Marin County preserve we were almost vexed by a parking shortage that thnkfully was not an issue here.  The road along San Andreas Drive is only half taken up by homes, which left plenty of parking along the road on the opposite side for visitors.  We overheard a couple of locals comment on the large number of cars and even so parking was not an issue.

In total, about 8 group members took off together from the San Andreas Drive trailhead.  The route we took circled around the lower stretches of Mount Burdell just to the north.  About 600 feet of elevation gain were required and good portion of that was inflicted early on along San Anreas Fire Road at the start of the hike.  Despite not hiking to the top of Mount Burdell we were still rewarded with a couple of nice views of Novato and San Pablo Bay to the southeast.

Most of the trails were easily to navigate rocky fire roads over rolling terrain through open meadows.  A couple of oak groves provided shaded relief from the Sun now and then.  With the moderate temperatures and refreshing breezes conditions were fairly pleasant regardless of the tree cover.

The preserve is dog friendly, and though we did see plenty of those we might have actually seen more horses than dogs, which seemed surprising.  

Log Photos
San Andres Fire Road
Meadow View
Trail View
San Pablo Bay
Middle Burdell Fire Road
Michako Trail
Recommended Item
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Jane Huber
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Bay Area parks and preserves offer a dramatic variety of landscapes, from rugged redwood-forested canyons to breezy coastal bluffs, grassy rolling hills to sunny chaparral-coated hillsides. Well-known destinations such as Point Reyes National Seashore, Mount Diablo State Park, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and many other more obscure jewels of the Bay Area park system are just a short drive from the heart of San Francisco. Completely updated and including several new hikes and a complete new map set, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: San Francisco guides readers to a splendid assortment of trails in the nine counties surrounding one of the world's most beautiful cities. Whether hikers crave a quick and easy get-out-of-town stroll or a challenging day-long trek through wilderness, this book is the perfect trailblazer, for city natives and first-time visitors alike

Consider yourself warned: Hiking in the Bay Area can be an intense and addictive experience. Sure, other areas of California are home to more esteemed landforms and parks--Yosemite is one of many world-class parks within a day's drive, and backpackers traverse the state as they trek one of the country's longest routes, the Pacific Crest Trail. Throughout the Bay Area there are many "destination" parks, where people from all over the world flock to walk among giant redwoods or whale-watch from a wildflower-dotted coastal bluff. But there are hundreds of smaller parks unknown to most tourists and even lifelong residents, and short drives (or in some cases bus trips, walks, or bike rides) lead to numerous parks and preserves with stunning views, bountiful wildlife, and quiet trails. These "backyard" preserves are especially beneficial to the residents of the Bay Area's most densely packed cities, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. Local parks provide close-to-home outlets for exercise and nature exploration on a daily basis--thousands of people living in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais can literally walk from their front doors for miles, all the way to the top of the mountain if they like. Locals hike parks and open-space preserves bordering the towns of Berkeley, Mill Valley, and Woodside daily, and they take active roles in maintaining the trails. Getting to know your backyard means getting to love your backyard--and we fight for what we love. This dedication to open space has led many ordinary citizens in rallies to save some of our most cherished Bay Area spots.

The campaign to preserve open space began in the era of John Muir, and the list of protected parklands is long and impressive. Battles continue, and development still threatens many special areas. As you make your way over trails throughout the Bay Area, think of what we could have lost and have already preserved: old growth redwoods in Muir Woods saved from logging, Point Reyes National Seashore and the Marin Headlands saved from huge housing complexes, various small parks including Edgewood saved from development as golf courses, as well as many other "common" plots of land preserved to make life a little better for the surrounding community.