Stafford Lake Park is 139-acres of outdoor adventure in Novato. The least developed of Marin County's regional parklands, it offers a "a quiet bucolic character, representative of Marin County’s agricultural heritage."
Thanks to the plentiful rain, the lake is at capacity and is an amazing site. Though this is not the time to year to enjoy many of the park's outdoor activities, the lake and the water pouring over the spillway is a site to behold. It is worth a Sunday drive this winter but be sure to visit Stafford in warmer weather to enjoy all it has to offer.
No matter your favorite outdoor pursuit, Stafford Lake is sure to appeal. For avid or even occasional fishermen, there is shore fishing for bluegill, bass and catfish. Birdwatchers might happen upon migrant shorebirds. There are also BBQ and picnic areas for groups as large as 500 and large meadows and lawn areas for a game of catch, soccer or Frisbee.
Speaking of, Stafford's nature adventure playground offers ziplining, volleyball and horseshoe courts and a disc golf course.
Terwilliger Nature Trail is a short, easy trail with views of the lake, as well as the surrounding oak woodland valleys and ridges. To reach the trailhead: Enter the park and pass the entrance station at a junction, turn right and drive to the end of the road to a parking lot and the trailhead. The trail rises gently for a view of the lake and uplands habitat. 1.7 miles round trip to park boundary and back.
Stafford Lake is also home to an impressive bike park where mountain bike riders of all ages and abilities can bomb down hills, launch over jumps and just have fun. Stafford Lake Bike Park is the North Bay’s first public bike park. The all-levels park features the only dual slalom course west of Truckee as well as beautiful views of Stafford Lake. For diehards, be sure to call the number below about the bike park's hours after it rains.
According to the park's website, the next phase of the bike park is planned for construction this summer. "Plans include a new ‘kid’s’ flow trail and extended Wilderness Trail Bikes Skills Zone perimeter trail. This trail will also include several pre-manufactured wood skills features of various shapes and sizes that are focused on kids and beginner level riders and are intended to challenge and build skills in a fun and exciting way. Future park phases, to be built pending further fundraising, will add advanced and intermediate pump tracks, a terrain park, adult flow trail, bridge crossings and a main event plaza."
There are no dogs permitted in the park as well as no boating or swimming/water contact.
Stafford Lake Park
- 3549 Novato Blvd., Novato
- (415) 897-0618
- Stafford Lake Bike Park, (415) 473-5867 (recorded info about open/closed status after rains)