Mount Tamalpais State Park
Mill Valley, California
Mileage - 8.2
Time - 2:09
AEG - 1,162ft
Mt Tam is a mere 2,571 feet at its highest point, though living at sea level creates an illusion of grandeur with it's steep slopes dropping off into the ocean. The mountain towers over the Northern bay area, especially East Peak. Mt Tamalpais State Park is quite possibly the largest recreation area for both locals and tourists, and has a lot to offer. Endless miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding will fill any adventurers appetite and the view alone is worth the drive out there.
Reaching the summit has been on my "high priority" list since moving here, along with Mt Diablo and Mission Peak and I was very pleased to have finally stood on the top. My trip out there was actually prompted by another event going on, the Miwok 100K. I caught word that a few friends from Phoenix were going to be running the race and I wanted to surprise them with a little unexpected motivation on the course. I studied the map, roads, and trails surrounding Mt Tam and decided the Pan Toll Ranger Station would be a good vantage point. Ended up being the perfect location, which is where I eventually began my hike up Tam. In regards to the race, the only person I encountered was Jay Danek around mile 25 on his way to an inspiring finish. Nice job as always bud!
I spoke with the ranger at Pan Toll and she gave some basic instructions and a map for my trek up the mountain. It was about as straight forward as it gets, "Follow the old jeep road to the top." Fair enough, I think I can handle that. As I climbed, the trail became more exposed and I was shedding layers within a mile. At mile two there was this nice little cabin with picnic tables, water, refreshments for sale and a one of the most picturesque places to have lunch I've ever seen while hiking! The closer I came to the summit, the more people I passed in all directions as the trails and roads converge a half mile from the peak. From there it was a matter of "walking the plank" to reach the observation tower (pictured left).
West Point Inn - 2 miles from Pan Toll on the Old Stage Trail.
Pacific Ocean in the distance.
Mount Tamalpais Summit.
Loving the view!