Olompali State Historic Park, just north of the Novato city border, has the grass and oak covered hillsides that are one of my favorite California landscapes. In the summertime, with the grass turned from bright green to blonde, they always make me think of our moniker as the “golden” state, but from a scenery rather than a mineral perspective.
The park contains about a hundred acres that was the site of one of the largest known villages of the Coast Miwok-Olompali Native American people, who lived in this area for over two thousand years before Europeans arrived. It also contains the adobe foundation of the last Miwok-Olompali leader’s home. There are some rather faded displays telling about the Miwok-Olompali history to read while you visit. Read more at the official Olompali State Historic Park website.
Many visitors come not for the history lesson but for the hiking and trail-riding (horse). There are two trails to take: Mt. Burdell (4.95 miles round trip) and the Loop Trail (2.63 miles). The views of the Bay, Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo and Novato. Note that you can’t take your dogs or your bikes on the trails. Also note that it is posted as a site where Mountain Lions have been spotted, so be observant.
Where: 3 miles north of Novato on U.S. 101 (map)
Hours: 10 -5 daily
Cost: Day Use Parking Fee $8/car; $50/bus with 24 or fewer passengers; $100/bus with 25 or more passengers