What’s Best: Bike tours lead into the past beside the rolling lawns of tile-roofed bungalows on this Spanish-style, retired military base; or ride along a levee to preview what is planned to be the largest wetland park in the Bay Area.
Parking: From Hwy. 101, take the Hamilton Field-Nave Blvd, exit. Go north on Nave Blvd. And then turn right on Main Gate Rd.
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Veer left on Palm Dr. And then veer right on S. Palm Dr. Follow S. Palm to stop sign and turn right on Hangar Ave. Follow Hangar to its end, at a small park across from Stern Dr. Agency: City of Novato.
Begun as an Army Air Corps base in 1935, Hamilton Field today is transitioning to a dense, high-end residential development, surrounded by more than 2,600 acres of wetlands. For the Perimeter Levee loop, proceed just past the park and keep to your left. The levee road, bordered by a low wall, runs behind the outermost block of new homes and continues northward for more than a mile, passing the huge hangars that are being converted to an industrial park. At the far end of the levee road is where MCOSD plans a preserve. Note: From the southeast corner of levee road is a route that goes south to McInnis Park.
For the Old Hamilton Tour, backtrack on Hangar Avenue and turn left on San Pablo and then, at the circle, go left on Sunset Drive. You’ll pass the old Officers Club and Historic Spanish Housing. Continue up Sunset, reaching another circle, where you can ride up Buena Vista, a cul-de-sac, for an even better view.
As you ride back down, veer right at Las Lomas around in a circle that takes you out to Oakwood Drive. Follow woodsy Oakwood down to the circle and take N. Oakwood out the opposite side. On your right, you’ll see signs noting the old amphitheater and church, where you can cut through and drop back down to Hangar Avenue.