In early May, my friends Tyler, Alex, and I were desperate to get outdoors for some exercise and fresh air. We decided on Mount Tamalpais, which is located in the Marin Headlands, just north of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and about a 50 minute drive from the city.
Getting to the trailhead of Mount Tam is slightly confusing -- the GPS had us winding through residential neighborhoods and tiny communities. The sign for Mount Tam can be easy to miss and the parking is not exactly ideal (luckily we were able to parallel park... right on the side of a cliff. God bless Tyler's Drivers Ed teacher...). There's a cute little inn and restaurant, Mountain Home Inn, across the street from the entrance to the trailhead that looked inviting and had we had the time, would've definitely have stopped in for lunch.
We had absolutely no idea where we were going from the very beginning and actually never quite figured it out. We started down the main path which ended up just being a paved road and after much hemming and hawing, we decided to branch off onto Bootjack Trail, in search of Van Wyck Meadow, which we assumed would be a great photo op.
After hiking for about 2 miles, Van Wyck Meadow was a boulder in a tiny field of grass. After conferring with some tourists who had a map (bringing a map...good thinking, tourists...), we decided to try and reach some lookout points for photos before heading home. It was totally worth the extra 2-3 miles -- Matt Davis Trail led us up to Nora's Trail, which offered sweeping views of the Pacific, San Francisco in the far distance, and the dense forests of Mount Tam.
Our trek up Mount Tamalpais hike was just the right amount of exercise for the day and it led us through beautiful terrain -- small, rushing waterfalls, babbling creeks, and dewy forests, all contributing to a serene and refreshing escape from the city. The impressive panoramas of the Pacific and the City make for a perfect day trip.
Mount Tamalpais State Park - 3801 Panoramic Highway, Mill Valley, CA