Discover & Learn

Get outside and explore your parks and preserves this fall.

Rangers Recommend

Mount Burdell Preserve

Rainbow over the hills of Mount Burdell

Savor the scenery near the top of this grand peak. For the gentlest grade to the top, start at the San Andreas Fire Road gate. After about a half mile, turn right for a short stretch along Middle Burdell Fire Road, and connect with Cobblestone Fire Road. In wet weather listen for the frogs along seasonal Hidden Lake. The boundary of the preserve, near the communication tower, is the high point. (The actual peak is on private property.) Enjoy the views, then turn around and head back down, or extend your adventure into neighboring Olompali State Historic Park.

  • 2.5 miles
  • 1200 foot elevation change
  • Strenuous

Indian Valley Preserve

Sun shining through oak branches

Oak woodlands offer a glimpse of what Marin County looked like before European settlement. Start on Ad & Gloria Schwindt Trail through oak and bay forest, continuing on to Indian Valley Fire Road. At the next junction, turn right on to Buzzard Burn Fire Road, crossing the creek bed through bay, buckeye, madrone, manzanita, coast live oak, blue oak, and black oak. The road becomes Witzel Trail. Stay straight until joining Susan Alexander Trail, which is a steep uphill through buckeye, California bay, and black oak woodland. Pass the waterfall, taking Ken Harth Trail on the right. Switch backs loop you to Pacheco Pond Fire Road, along the parking area. Plenty of paid parking is available in the college campus lot.

  • 4 miles
  • 500 foot elevation gain
  • Moderate difficulty


Naturalist Notes

Maple tree leaves in fall colors

Bigleaf Maple

One of our few native trees to offer autumnal color, the deciduous leaves of bigleaf maple carpet woodland floors in shades of yellow and orange during the fall. Having the largest leaves of any maple, leaf widths of nearly two feet are possible but 6-12 inches are more common. Capable of crown-sprouting, these trees can quickly regenerate after fire. Although the sugar content is comparable, the taste differs from common maple syrup and therefore this species isn’t typically tapped for its sugary sap. Add sightings of Acer macrophyllum to iNaturalist.

Volunteer Opportunities

Young girl planting native flowers at Creekside


Have a few hours? Let's pull together as we bring back volunteer events. Join together outside and have fun, meet new friends, explore the outdoors, and give back to the special places where you love to hike, run, ride, and play. For more information check out the calendar or contact Parks volunteer coordinators:

  • Parks: email Kirk Schroeder
  • Open Space: email Greg Reza