Deer Island is a 154-acre open space preserve hidden along the city of Novato's back roads. No longer an actual island, the park was once part of Novato's wetlands, and even hosted a dairy farm, the remnants of which can still be seen today. The preserve is popular among joggers and dog walkers.
There are many options for short hikes in Deer Island. There is a 2-mile loop that surrounds the preserve and various trails crossing over the hill. The park is small and easy to navigate; however, starting with the trail directly over the hill will give you a perfect orientation and nice views of Marin and the wetlands. The trail will eventually descend back down to the loop. Here you can choose left or right, both of which will bring you back to the trailhead. Keep your eye open for hawks along the trail, and remember that dogs are only allowed on leash.