Mount Burdell Trail

MODERATE 12 reviews
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Mount Burdell Trail is a 5.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Novato, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

5.2 miles 1243 feet Loop



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


no dogs

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. From the gate off of San Andreas Dr, take the Michako trail to the San Carlos Fire Rd. Then climb past hidden lake on Cobbleston Trail to the Deer Camp Fire Rd. Take this to the summit at 1,558 ft. Return via the same route.

25 days ago

The Quarry Trail is called that for a reason! It's rocky as hell. But joking aside, I was blown away by the classic California landscape. I'll be back!

27 days ago

Had a great day hiking with the kids. They didn't find the trails difficult.

horseback riding
2 months ago

Wide-open trails lots of rocks

3 months ago

Nice loop trail with some good views...can be hot as it's largely in the open. The steer will also keep you company.

5 months ago

Good hike. Good elevation in spots. Watch out for cows! Great views.

7 months ago

8 months ago


1 year ago

1 year ago

Well... I set out to do a healthy 15 miles hike from the San Andreas drive trail-head to Miwok Village in Olompali State Park, and back. However, due to some faulty navigation on my part and the (temporary) loss of my Iphone right in the middle of the trail... I ended up taking some detours and quick a bit of a double back to fetch my phone :-) All said, I hike for a bit over 17 miles. If you are wiser than I was, the hike will be doable in about 15 miles.

This is quite an interesting mix of fire roads, single track trails, wide open expanses and long shaded miles. Add to that a start in the classic morning fog and the rest of the day in full sun; this was a very diverse and altogether pleasant hike.

The first 2.5 miles were all fire roads rendered a bit easier by the aforementioned morning fog providing a welcome mild chill for the fast paced walk up to Mt Burdell. In succession, I took the San Andreas Fire Road, the Mount Burdell Fire Road and the Cobblestone Fire Road and finally the Mounth Burdell (paved) road just under the summit. About .5 miles, panoramic views open to the south.

I got off that fire road climbing a faint trail just under the south end of the summit (quite rugged and a bit of bushwhacking!). After stepping over old/low barbed-wires I reach the summit area and stopped at a wooden table for a quick snack. This is where I made my first mistake, taking a narrow trail going straight down the Eastern slope. Realizing my mistake, I doubled back (ouch... quite steep getting back to the summit) and eventually found the much nicer / much more level trail that would bring me down to Miwok village. The switchbacks on the East side of Mt Burdell are quite long due to a very gentle grade (they may test patience going down but become a bit welcome later heading back up after already 10 miles under the feet). At many spots along the trail, the tree cover opens up for great views of the North Bay on the East.

After 3.3 miles of switch backs, I reached and took the Loop Trail down to and around Olompali park offers a few interesting spots (a small creek on the North side of the loop, Miwok village of course -- lunch brake at another wooden table--, an old dairy barn and nice forested areas with Manzanitas and Madrone trees back up the south side of the loop). Then back to the long switchbacks up to the summit for the last break (laying down on the bench, taking boots and socks off to give the feet some TLC).

From there, a shot walk down the paved Burdell Mountain road to the Old Quarry Trail on the left. That trail is rather steep and rocky, with the classic loose rocks/gravel that make for some fun short slides here and there (thanks for hiking poles!). I turned left on the Middle Mt Burdell Fire road (Old quarry continues down but I had enough of "rock surfing" for a while). Going through a couple Cattle gates I then reach San Carlos fire road (loved the shaded portions as I was running low on water). San Carlos FR eventually leads to the last leg of the journey on the Michako Trail (sweeping views south towards Novator and Mt Tam). to return to the San Andreas Drive parking area.

1 year ago

Jan 19th - To The Top!! 5.5 miles, 1600 feet up and 240 minutes - with Shari and Jobo -- awesome!! Great Views!

2 years ago

3 years ago

Nice area...