"Former Home of the Grateful Dead . . ." Rancho Olompali State Historic Park by karenincalifornia

. . . and Former Hippie Commune

Olompali State Park is located just north of my home in San Rafael, California (Marin County). The State Park system (with their very limited funding) is doing their best to promote this as a heritage site of the Coastal Miwok Natives who have lived here since 500 A.D. (or 1300 A.D., depending on the source of information). Not to minimize the historical importance of this site, its more recent history is equally fascinating. However, the California State Park system doesn't give this more recent history quite as much play as the Miwok story, which is understandable.

Are you a rock music fan? Do you love that whole era of the birth of rock, the 60s music, the psychedelic sound, the folk music and the Woodstock scene? If so, you'll enjoy the history of this State Park. It isn't just an ancient Native American historical site. Oh, it is so much, much more....

Come and take a hike with me and learn about the "Other History" of this State Park....

60s Rock N Roll History Lesson

Olompali State Park (before it was given that name) is the former home The Grateful Dead. Donald Crawford McCoy, a star player on his college's water polo team and a Navy veteran, established a hippie commune here called "The Chosen Family". Children of The Chosen Family attended a "Not a School" run by a pot-smoking nun.

With a visit the park, you can clearly imagine all this happening here. It's a trip.

Trace the Steps of The Grateful Dead (and Others)

How to get here....

New speedway boogie or down the black muddy river.

Or take the Olompali exit off Highway 101.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Groovy, far out, former happening hang out of the strung out and famous, an uncrowded place - good for a commune
  • Cons:Not enough emphasis on the rock 'n roll karma
  • In a nutshell:There's a lot more to this place than just a couple of Miwok crash pads
  • Last visit to Rancho Olompali State Historic Park: May 2006
  • Intro Updated Sep 29, 2007
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Reviews (14)

Comments (6)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    May 4, 2009 at 7:30 PM

    The San Rafael Mission looks fabulous. Great job here! Very informative about the fugus that affects oak trees. We have mistletoe removed frequently from our oak trees.

  • May 3, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    I lived on the ranch just before the Dead rented it. In fact we had to live there for two weeks while we moved to our new place in Novato. I'll be happy to tell you all about it if you're interested.

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2008 at 11:40 AM

    Like, cool, man!

  • Mar 10, 2008 at 10:17 AM

    I lived on the ranch in 1968. Do you have any others who did listed??

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 22, 2006 at 8:59 AM

    This is a really beautiful looking piece of real estate!! It is nice to see the State has made the effort to provide a basis for enjoyment by the public at large. I never really listened to the Dead. Franki Valli & the 4 Seasons must have warped my mind!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2006 at 3:08 PM

    I don't quite qualify as a Deadhead, either (LOL), but I like your account of the Grateful Dead connection. I lived in Berkeley from 1966 to 1970, and remember watching all those folks you mention, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, etc.


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