Mount Tamalpais, or Mt. Tam, is close to San Francisco and has some of the most beautiful views in the world. From the top of the East peak you can see the fog rolling in from the sea, contrasting with the Golden Gate bridge and an unexpecting downtown San Francisco laying in wait. There are miles and miles of trails and some amazing mt. biking.
Growing up in the East Bay, I hiked Mount Diablo often and I feel slightly ashamed that after living in the north bay for some nine years, that I only recently ascended to the top of Mt Tam…sigh. It was worth the wait.
I chose to park across in the small parking lot across the street from the Throckmorton Fire Station along the Panoramic Highway (see map). It makes for a nice drive and you can clearly see the East peak of Tam from the parking lot. After the hike you can grab a drink at the Mountain Home Inn across the street from the parking lot. To make things easy you can put the Mountain Home Inn (Mill Valley) into you Map App for directions to the parking lot.
Personally, I started off my little birthday hike by working my way up the Matt Davis Trail, then went North on Nora Trail, connected up the Old Railroad Grade Fire Trail, then I got lost on a side trail up to the peak. At the peak there was a fantastic path that takes you to a few viewing stations with the most impressive one on the eastern side of the mountain for a great view of the North Bay and Sausalito.
For my journey back down, I headed South down the mountain on the Temelpa Trail, then to the Hoo- Koo- E-Koo Fire Road (Awesome trail name BTW), then I got lost again (it’s cool it was my birthday and I had music), and eventually found my way to the Gravity Car Fire Trail. I made this round trip in about 3-4 hours at a gingerly pace. Bring sunscreen or shade, plenty of water and a snack.
If you check out Mt. Tam, be sure to stop and read the info about the gravity car at the top. Apparently it was quite the attraction back in the day.
Here’s part of a map that I cliped
For the download of the pdf I grabbed this from check out parks.ca.gov (pdf)