Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,600.00 ft (487.68 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

A moderate half-day hike, the Hogback Fire Road to Fern Creek Trail route provides some of the most direct access to East Peak, the true summit of Mount Tamalpais. Winding up Mount Tamalpias' south facing slopes, the route ascends open fire roads before splitting off on the Fern Creek trail en route to the summit. East Peak, and much of the trail itself, offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the surrounding Marin hills, San Francisco Peninsula and San Pablo Bay.

The trail begins a few hundred feet north of the Panaromic Highway parking area located across the street from Mountain Home Inn. Cross the Panaromic Highway and head up the road marked by the “Marin Country Fire Dept” and “Mt. Tamalpais Watershed” signs (note: there is also another gravel road to the right here that takes you to additional parking). Pass the Throckmorton Fire Station and continue up the steep Hogback Fire Road. 

Just over a half mile up Hogback you’ll run into Old Railroad Grade Fire Road, a popular mountain biking trail. Make a left heading uphill and continue until you reach the Fern Creek Trail junction a third of a mile ahead. Follow the Fern Creek Trail uphill to the Summit Ridge and visitor center, where restrooms and drinking water are available, and continue to where the trail ends just below East Peak. To reach the summit take the Plankwalk Trail, and enjoy the vistas afforded at the top.

Be sure to pack a jacket, as East Peak can be much windier and cooler than the trails that lead to the summit.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Panoramic Bay Area vistas. Most direct route from Panoramic Highway,

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

970.00 ft (295.66 m)

Features

Historically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

09/04/2018
Thanks Angelo, I've changed that information in the summary.
09/01/2018
The overview notes that pets are not allowed. Actually, dogs on leash are allowed on Marin Municipal Water District trails, including all the trails on this particular hike. I just did this hike with my dog. Attached are photos of trail signs for Fern Creek, Verna Dunshee, and Plank Walk (East Peak Summit Fire Lookout) confirming that dogs on leash are in fact allowed. It continues to be confusing because although dogs are not allowed on trails within Mt Tam State Park, east peak and the trails on this hike, amongst other numerous trails, actually lie within Marin Municipal Water District. I was glad to have discovered this for myself. Enjoy doggies!
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