Victory looks and smells so sweet atop a 1,500-foot peak swimming in wildflowers! Go on a gut-busting flower-power mountain bike ride to North Marin’s highest summit, Mount Burdell. The 5-mile (round-trip) journey starts on a wide dirt trail and passes piercing swaths of yellow buttercups and blue dicks. Climb up the mountainside through rolling green hills. (Note: Stubborn cows like to lie in the middle of the path beneath the eerily twisting branches of gnarled oaks.) After about 2.5 miles of increasingly steep terrain, blue-eyed grass ascends to a wide-eyed finish at the gently rounded summit. There’s a picnic table for taking a breather and basking in eastern panoramas of San Pablo Bay from the Carquinez Strait all the way down to Diablo. Views of the Petaluma River, Mount Saint Helena, and Sonoma Valley lie to the north. A string of fluorescent orange California poppies leads the way downhill on the return journey via Cobblestone Fire Road, where you’ll pass Hidden Lake and its sea of salamanders about halfway down.
OPTIONAL HIKE: This route can be hiked instead of biked.
Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve. From the trailhead at the end of San Andreas Dr. in Novato, begin left up San Andreas Fire Road and continue straight onto Deer Camp Fire Road. Keep left at the junction with Cobblestone Fire Road to continue to the summit. Return the way you came, this time turning left at the junction onto Cobblestone Fire Road. Turn right at Hidden Lake onto Middle Burdell. Follow back onto San Andreas Fire Road and to the trailhead. Free parking. Dog friendly!