Our last weekend in October was a warm one! Ready for sweaters and chilly mornings but until then I will enjoy being able to get the hubs up early enough for a sunrise hike. We reached the Mount Burdell trailhead just as the sun was starting to rise over the hills. The grasses were glowing in the morning light and the green-leafed oaks were backlit by the golden sun rising. Perfect morning for a hike!
Most of the hike is along various fire roads so you don’t have to be completely wide awake to enjoy the trails! The gentle climb up San Andreas fire road allows for your muscles and your mind to wake up while you watch the sun peek over the hills. Trust me this is helpful when you hike with a sleepy head! The grassy meadows have beautiful healthy oaks spreading their strong branches out to make the most of the land. I love our golden California hills contrasted by the dark green leaves on the oaks! And yes, if you have been following us on Instagram you know we have a tree problem!
Enjoy your stroll up nice long switchbacks to Deer Camp fire road. Don’t forget to turn around occasionally and check out the valley below you! This time of year the variety of trees in the neighborhoods down below provide an amazing backdrop of color to the green of the oaks and golden grasses along the trails. We passed a handful of people on their way down the mountain with their dogs greeting us with wagging tails. This trail is a great multi-use trail for dogs, hikers, and mountain bikers. We saw one mountain biker flying down Middle Burdell fire road with his dog running next to him looking so excited to have this time with his human!
When you reach the junction to turn onto Cobblestone fire road the views of the city and San Pablo bay are absolutely amazing! The sun was wide awake at this point and showed off the blanket of fog over the city and if you peek to the north we could see Petaluma under the blanket of fog as well. I could just imagine my friends in Petaluma all snuggled under their covers and still cozy while we were out exploring.
Hang a right on Old Quarry trail and be ready for a steep rocky descent. The trail narrows and is one of the only spots on the 5 mile hike you will have shade. No bicycles are allowed on this trail so you can take your time and steady your step as you hike down. Pause for a minute and enjoy the quiet solitude here. You are in a canyon of sorts with trees covering you and no one around but your hiking partner. When you emerge to the grassy meadow check out the views of Mount Burdell behind you and the city in front of you!
Jump on Middle Burdell fire road and hang a quick right back on Old Quarry trail when you see a lone buckeye hanging out like a trail marker. From here you go through another cattle gate and down onto San Carlo fire road. We met up with more dog walkers here. Happy dogs everywhere! At a large oak tree go right onto Michako trail and enjoy the mostly level trail back to the beginning of your hike. The views of the meadows and the city of Novato below were gorgeous and a nice calming end to a simple yet beautiful hike. It was great to get back on the trails with this hike and we will definitely have to take our grandpuppy on this trail when she’s ready!
Do you have a favorite dog walking trail? We are looking for short trails to help train our grandpuppy to be a hiking dog. Leave us a note below!
Free street parking, no facilities, 75% sun, 5 miles, 1,200 ft elevation gain, dogs on leash. The nearest food is a small strip mall at the base of the neighborhood with a cute grocery store and a couple of small chain food and Starbucks. We used Bay Area Hiker’s trail description to guide us and as usual, did not get lost with her instructions!