Hike to the Summit of Mt. Tamalpais

1.2 miles  - Loop Trail

Added by Sothear Nuon

This easy 1.2 mile loop sets you up for amazing sunset viewing and scenic landscape photography close to San Francisco. At Mt. Tam's highest peak, you'll be just above the clouds as they roll in. 

Mt. Tam is a large park with plenty of amazing viewpoints, but the East routes and the East Peak are best for sunsets. Once you're at the top, it's an amazing spot to view a large number of Marin trails, which can help you can get a head start on planning your next adventure. At 2,570 feet, this is the highest point on Mount Tamalpais. The good news is that the path to get there is pretty easy and partially paved. Due to the short distance of the Plankwalk Trail, it's usually more scenic and a little more fun to do the Verna Dunshee loop first.

As you start the Dunshee trail, you'll notice that's there are two options at the start. There's a switchback path or a set of stairs to get you going on the trail. Choose whichever you're more comfortable with. Along the trail, enjoy the views of Northern Marin, San Francisco, and the East Bay. After about 0.6 miles, this trail will come full circle at the parking lot and allow you to head uphill and jump onto the Plankwalk.

After roughly a quarter of a mile, you'll reach the summit and fire lookout. From here, spend as much time as you'd like and then head back to the car the way you came.

If you're riding or hiking all the way up, it can be a bit of a grind to get to the peak, but it's definitely worth it once you catch the sunset. If you choose to ride, you can head up E. Ridgecrest Blvd from Pan Toll Road. If you're hiking, jump on the Matt Davis Trail to the Nora Trail to Old Railroad Grade, finally heading up on Fern Creek Trail to the East Peak parking area.

If it's a nice day and you want to eat outside, you can head to the Mountain Home Inn for a burger and a beer. Just as a disclaimer, it is a little pricey.

Read More

Tags

Cycling
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Groups
Romantic
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Explorer

🥈 Contributor

over 4 years ago

Photo & Family Friendly

We can't get enough of these trails! This loop is wonderful for families with kids in tow, along with incredible photography opportunities as you mention. =) Love it!

Truly one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever taken. Started from Muir Woods and ended at the top of Mount Tam, but there are several other routes (shorter/longer, depending on your preference) you can take to get there. Highly recommend!

Easy & beautiful views of the bay.

Stay Nearby

Stinson Beach, California

Beachside Getaway With Hot Tub & Outdoor Shower

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •PROPERTY OVERVIEWAffectionately known as the Hermosa Cottage, this single-s...

From $157/night

Stinson Beach, California

3 Cottage Beach Retreat W/ Hot Tub

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •PROPERTY OVERVIEWDiscover ultimate relaxation amid resort-style indulgences...

From $824/night

Stinson Beach, California

Beachside Bliss With Hot Tub & Outdoor Shower

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •PROPERTY OVERVIEWIndulge in beachside bliss at this 1BR delight, affectiona...

From $205/night

Stinson Beach, California

Beach Bungalow With Hot Tub, Deck & Fire Pit

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Enjoy complete relaxation amid resort-style indulgences at this 2BR/2BA bun...

From $230/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike or Run Mt. Tam via Temelpa Trail

    The Mt. Tam Hill Climb via Temelpa Trail is an iconic, "best-of" climb in the trail running community, drawing some of the world's greatest athletes to experience its breathtaking views and technical downhill. Surprisingly though, outside of local...

    4 miles 1200 ft gain

  • Hike the Dawn Falls Trail

    Take the Dawn Falls trail down into the Baltimore Canyon for an in-depth exploration of northern California nature. Rather than the usual dry, hardy vegetation that speckles the hills of many nearby trails, this trail is bursting with lush ferns a...

    2.2 miles

  • Hike from the Bootjack Campground to Muir Woods and Back

    Getting permits into Muir Woods can be hard, but if you want to work for it, there's a much better way to visit the National Monument. To do this loop into Muir Woods National Monument, first drive to the Bootjack Parking Area in Mt. Tamalpais Sta...

    8.61 miles 1594 ft gain

  • Camp at Bootjack Campground in Mount Tamalpais State Park

    Bootjack Campground is located within California's Mount Tamalpais State Park. There are a couple of campsites within the park, but if you are driving on the Panoramic Highway from Mill Valley, this will be the first campground you pass.  The fee ...