Olompali State Historic Park Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"Olompali State Historic Park is located a few miles north of Novato on the northeast slope of Burdell Mountain, facing San Antonio Creek and the Petaluma River Marsh Wildlife Area. The name comes from the Coast Miwok language meaning southern village or southern people. It was the site of Marin County’s largest Miwok Indian village from about 500 A.D. and a major Miwok trading center. The 700-acre park has a colorful and varied past. In the mid 1800s, Galen and Mary Burdell owned the land. They built an ornate 26-room mansion with a Victorian formal garden, bricklined walkways, gazebos, exotic plants, fountains, and a lily pond. The Burdell mansion burned down in 1969, but the old adobe walls still remain. In the 1940s it was a Jesuit seminary. In 1966 it was home to the Grateful Dead band. A picture of the band relaxing on the Olompali hillside is on the back cover of their American Beauty album. In 1967 it was a commune for a hippy group known as “The Chosen Family.” It became a state park in 1982. This loop hike climbs the east-facing mountain slope, passing historic ranch buildings and an interpretive Miwok village, which was reconstructed with the assistance of Coast Miwok descendants. The path leads through rolling grasslands with majestic gnarled oaks and stream-fed ravines. The hike includes vistas of the coastal mountain ranges, the Petaluma River estuary, and San Pablo Bay. Olompali State Historic Park connects with the Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve at the ridge (Hike 122)"