Redwood forest on the Big Trees trail in the Indian Tree open space preserve

Hiking Through Indian Tree Preserve


I recently took some time off, and decided to explore the hills and trails in my area. One of the areas I visited was the Indian Tree open space preserve in Novato, California. There are so many popular hiking trails in the Northern Bay Area, the Indian Tree preserve is often overlooked by local hikers. However, people that have visited the area will tell you it’s a beautiful area to go hiking.

I found the Indian Tree preserve both beautiful and fascinating. Namely because as I walked from the trailhead to the end of the Big Trees trail, I went through several different forests, and each forest had its own characteristics. It was almost like I was hiking through a different park every time I went over a hill or down into a ravine. I crossed through forests of oaks, California bay, redwood (my favorite), and Madrone. Of course each forest had its own smells, and I couldn’t help but stop for a few minutes in each to take in the incredible aromas.

My hike was on a hot summer day, so I was very surprised to find some areas in the upper redwood forests to be soaked with water (not just moist, but soaked). I also noticed that when the wind blew, it rained as the water droplets fell from the redwood trees. Very cool!
The hike through the 5.5 mile loop is a moderate one, and the area isn’t crowded. If you’re interested in visiting the area, there’s a great article about it on the Bay Area Hiker website. There’s also a good map on the Marin County website.
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Jungle of ferns in the Indian Tree open space preserve

Rolling hills in Novato - Big Trees trail in the Indian Tree open space preserve
Nearing the end of the Big Trees trail.
Redwood trees on the Big Trees trail in the Indian Tree open space preserve
Edge of Indian Tree open space preserve
Near the end of the Big Trees trail.
The Big Trees trail in the Indian Tree open space preserve
Near where Big Trees trail meets Indian Tree fire road.
Redwood trees on the Big Trees trail in the Indian Tree open space preserve
The “Big Trees” on the Big Trees trail.
Redwood trees on the Big Trees trail in the Indian Tree open space preserve
The “Big Trees” on the Big Trees trail.
Panorama of Novato from Indian Tree open space preserve
Panorama of Novato from Indian Tree open space preserve.
Wild Sweet Pea - Lathyrus vestitus
Wild Sweet Pea (Lathyrus vestitus var. vestitus)
Wild Sweet Pea - Lathyrus vestitus
Wild Sweet Pea (Lathyrus vestitus var. vestitus)

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