Sonoma and Marin Counties are located at the southern edge of Northern California and offer a wide selection of state and regional parks. If you’re an avid hiker, investing in Novato real estate will put you right in the heart of miles of trails that range from beginner level to advanced. From waterfalls to botanical gardens, Sonoma and Marin are a nature enthusiast’s dream.
Best hikes in Sonoma and Marin
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Located just under an hour northeast of Novato, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park offers 25 miles of winding trails in Kenwood. Hike through lush forests that neighbor the Sonoma River. Climb to heights at more than 2,500 feet of elevation on Bald Mountain for a stunning view of the Sierras and San Francisco Bay.
The Creekside and Meadow-Hillside trails are more suitable for leisure hikes with the family, while the Bald Mountain and Goodspeed trails are best for avid, experienced hikers. If you’re a trail enthusiast looking into Novato real estate, know that Sugarloaf Ridge is open each day from 6 AM to 8 PM. They offer $8 parking and accessibility hikes for those with additional needs.
Hood Mountain Regional Park
For a more challenging excursion, try the newly opened Lawson Trail, which provides views of Sonoma Valley, Napa, and the North Bay. For an easier hike, choose the trail that connects Los Alamos Road to Santa Rosa Creek. Open from 7 AM to sunset, Hood Mountain offers $7 parking and allows dogs on leash.
Taylor Mountain Regional Park
The Sky Lupine Trail will take you up from Kawana Terrace toward the peak of Taylor Mountain, providing beautiful views of Santa Rosa. The Western Trail is more strenuous, taking you more slowly toward the top of the mountain and joining with other trails that curve around the park. Finally, for a more relaxed option, the Todd Creek Trail is .7-miles of easy forest hiking. Dogs are allowed on leash and parking is $7. Taylor Mountain Regional Park is open from 7 AM until sunset.
Sonoma Valley Regional Park
Rounding out the best hikes in Sonoma County is Sonoma Valley Regional Park, south of the Sonoma Botanical Garden. Another Glen Ellen treasure, this 202-acre beauty offers multiple hiking trails as well as spots to pull out the picnic basket or barbecue. For an accessible hike, try the paved Valley of the Moon Trail, which extends 1.2 miles. For views of the Mayacamas, take the Cougar Trail, a 1.5-mile trek. Sonoma Valley Regional is open 8 AM to sunset, allows leashed dogs, and offers $7 parking or free parking for members.
Ring Mountain Preserve
Mount Burdell Preserve
Mount Burdell Preserve is celebrated as the largest open space preserve in Marin County. The best part is, if you’re shopping for Novato real estate, Mount Burdell Preserve is only a seven-minute drive from downtown. Rangers suggest taking the Eagle Rim Trail for views of the Bay and Big Rock Ridge. The preserve also offers historical trails through old quarry roads and cattle fields. Experienced hikers should try the Old Quarry Trail, which is considered Mount Burdell’s most challenging. The best times to visit Mount Burdell Preserve are during the spring and summer months when rare and colorful plants like buttercups and mule's ears are more prominent.
Olompali State Historic Park
Just north of Mount Burdell, off Highway 101, Olompali State Historic Park is a six-minute drive from Downtown Novato. With just under three miles of trail loops, Olompali is a great option for beginner to intermediate hikers who are looking for a quick afternoon walk or a light workout after breakfast. Open from 9 AM to 5 PM, you can park for $8 and explore the beautiful wildflowers and views of the Petaluma River on your ascent. Neither dogs nor bikes are allowed on the trails, but picnic areas are provided. For advanced hikers, a 9-mile trail climbs to the peak of Mount Burdell.
Rush Creek Preserve
King Mountain Preserve
Helen Putnam Hike in Petaluma
Looking for Novata real estate for sale?
*Header image courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism