Olompali State Historic Park

Novato, California

Olompali State Historic Park

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)"

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More Olompali State Historic Park Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Tracy Salcedo-Chourré
"One of the most overlooked parks in San Francisco’s North Bay harbors unexpected historic and trail treasures. The depth of history contained in this humble little park, wedged between sprawling Mount Burdell and a busy stretch of freeway, is astounding. The land was, for thousands of years, occupied by a tribelet of the Coast Miwok known as the Olompali, which flourished on a land flush with resources including acorns and other edible and medicinal flora, wild game, and seafood from the Petaluma River delta and nearby San Pablo Bay. A hike through Olompali begins by passing the preserved remains of Ynitia’s adobe. The adobe later became part of the mansion of the ranching family that acquired the land in 1863, when then-owner James Black gave it to his daughter, Mary, upon her marriage to San Francisco dentist Galen Burdell."
Laure Latham
"Check out a reconstructed Miwok site, a Victorian ranch, and a Grateful Dead hangout"
"These 2 hikes on the north slopes of Mt. Burdell offer great views, spectacular wildflowers and a glimpse of early California history. Grass crowds trail in places."

Trail Information

Nearby City
750 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2 hours
U.S.G.S. Petaluma River • Olompali State Historic Park map
Local Maps

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