Summiting Marin's Mount Burdell isn't on many bucket lists, but it should be. At 1,500 feet, it sits below Mount Tam, but it's the highest peak in north Marin and the summit payoff is plentiful.
Take a little time to explore the top of Mount Burdell; rocks were mined up here to make San Francisco's cobblestone streets.
Starting from a simple staging area off a residential road in Novato, the moderate 5.5-mile round-trip trail meanders across bright green hills studded with barren oak trees whose craggy and leafless branches look like something out of a Tim Burton movie. Hop across a few seasonal streams before ascending the mountain by way of a narrow and forested gorge. After a bit more than 2 miles, you'll reach the gently rounded peak.
There aren't any 360-degree views, but there are multiple vantage points, including views of Petaluma River, Mount Saint Helena and Mount Diablo. Descend via the Cobblestone Fire Road, passing Hidden Lake whose waters are teeming with busy and noisy frogs.