Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
Yes
Lodging
No
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.

Established in 1963, Mount Tamalpais State Park is one of the Bay Area's open space treasures. Rising above the Marin Headlands, Mount Tam boasts over 50 miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, and Marin's highest point, East Peak, at 2,571 feet. With a diversity of ecosystems ranging from hill covered grasslands to fog-laden redwoods, the park leaves little to be desired when it comes to natural diversity. Mount Tam is connected to a larger network of Marin County open space areas and shares  borders with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, and the Marin Municipal Water District, offering visitors a nearly inexhaustible swath of open space and trails to explore.

The park's namesake is it's central feature, providing a stunning backdrop to the waters of the blue Pacific. Three rather indistinct peaks, West Peak, Middle Peak and East Peak, form a summit ridge.The upper slopes vary in vegetation depending on their aspect and exposure to fog, but all share a scenic commonality and provide some of Marin's best panoramic vistas. The Park covers the majority of the mountain's west and south facing slopes as well as a corridor that runs along the summit ridge. The western slope extends down to the ocean and includes the shoreline around Steep Ravine Environmental Camp. Highlight trails on coast side of the park include Steep Ravine, Matt Davis, and the Coast View Trail.

The park's drier south and east-facing slopes are traversed by fire roads popular with mountain bikers and hikers. The Old Railroad Grade and the Hogback-Fern Creek Trail, are two popular paths leading to the summit.  The Dipsea Trail is notable, traversing the park from east to west, extending for 14 miles between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach. 

Mount Tamalpais can draw quite a crowd on sunny weekends. Try and get up there early or plan for a midweek visit if solitude is what you're after. There are various parking areas to begin hikes and rides, some with no parking fees (try Whitegate Ranch Trailhead or Coast View Trailhead), while central parking areas require a day use fee. Temperatures can vary greatly depending on whether you're in a forest, in the fog, on a sun-soaked hillside, or sitting on top of a windy East Peak; suffice it to say, make sure to pack a couple layers.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Tallest point in Marin. Vistas. Top-notch hiking trails.

Cons

Can get crowded on weekends.

Features

ADA accessible
Amphitheater
Campgrounds + Campsites
Backcountry camping
Flushing toilets
Mountain biking
Bicycling
Potable water
Picnic tables
Old-growth forest
Horseback riding
Bird watching
Wildlife

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

09/14/2017
Do you know how many different hiking trails are there and the distances for each? Those photos are from different trips to Mt Tam I'm assuming? I'm new to the area so I really appreciate you sharing!
Nice photos !!!
08/13/2017
I urge every photographer, on all skill levels, to go out to Mount Tamalpais during a foggy sunset. It may take a few trips, like it did for me, but regardless fog or no fog, there is so much color and space to see. Use that advantage the day you come out to a foggy scene, you will know where to go and be at the right place, at the right time. Have fun out there! And respect the rules, the rangers are pretty active around sunset due to the amount of people that grow. Interested in more? Please follow my photo account @klewellynphoto
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