Situated on the outskirts of Novato to the west, secluded Indian Tree Preserve offers 230 acres of hilly open space trails to hikers and those on horseback (*closed to cyclists). The trailhead, which is accessed near the end of Vineyard Road on the left, meanders through grasslands on the valley floor and fern-filled coastal woodlands. Those who set their sights on reaching the top will be rewarded with views and towering Redwood groves that line the north-facing slope of the ridge. It’s a particularly nice hike for nature-lovers seeking solitude.
A favorite among locals, the 5.5 mile dirt trail ascends slowly, switch-backing uphill through forests of oak, bay, and madrone to a panoramic lookout over nearby Stafford Lake, San Pablo Bay and beyond. The mostly shaded hike is nice during hot summer months, and is considered moderately difficult with a 1200 foot rise in elevation.
The preserve has multiple routes and loop trails to choose from including some accessible only to equestrians. Wildlife and spring wildflowers are plentiful along the way, as are many species of birds. Dogs are permitted on leash on trails, and off leash under voice command on fire roads. Street parking is plentiful and free of charge. No restrooms; bring drinking water and a trail map.
To learn more about how to access this hike, visit the Marin County parks website.