Jared Kennedy | 09.07.2014

Wednesday's Word is Tamalpais - tæməlˈpaɪ.ɨs -- ta-muhl-PIE-es

t:'t' in 'tie'  æ: 'a' in 'pad'  m: 'm' in 'my'  əl: 'le' in 'bottle'  ˈ: primary stress follows  p: 'p' in 'pie'  aɪ: long 'i' in 'bide'  .: syllable break  ɨ: 'e' in 'roses'  s: 's' in 'sigh'

Mount Tamalpais is just across the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands. East Peak, its highest point, is 2,574 feet. It once stood higher before West Peak was flattened to install a large radar dome. The name for the mountain was first recorded in 1845. There are two possible origins for the name. The most widely accepted account maintains that the name is a adaptation of the name used by the Coast Miwok tribe that inhabited the area. They called it támal pájiṣ, which meant "west hill." Another possibility is that the name came from the Spanish word for Tamal country. The Spanish missionaries referred to the Coast Mikow people as the Tamal.

Locals call it Mount Tam, and it's a popular destination for outdoor recreation for people living in San Francisco and Marin County. Mount Tamalpais State Park and Muir Woods National Monument make up much of the area. Given the proximity to a major city and the sweeping Pacific Ocean views, the area is flush with hikers and mountain bikers, yet the trails rarely feel overcrowded. The area is credited with being the birthplace of mountain biking in the 1970s, but given the ongoing debate around biking access and trail conservation, the single-track trails in the area are mostly off limits to mountain bikes.  


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.