hiking

walking

views

trail running

forest

birding

nature trips

wild flowers

no dogs

wildlife

kid friendly

river

waterfall

dogs on leash

mountain biking

lake

beach

North of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais State Park rises majestically from the heart of Marin County. Mount Tamalpais captures our attention with its sweeping hillsides cloaked with chaparral-covered ridges, grasslands and oak woodlands. Deep canyons filled with solemn redwood groves intersect these ridges and slopes to create a diverse environment for a wide array of plant and animal species. On a clear day, visitors can see the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, San Francisco and the bay, hills and cities of the East Bay, and Mount Diablo. On rare occasions, the Sierra Nevada's snow-covered mountains can be seen 150 miles away. Coastal Miwok Indians lived in the area for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. In 1770, two explorers named the mountain La Sierra de Nuestro Padre de San Francisco, which was later changed to the Miwok word Tamalpais. With the Gold Rush of 1849, San Francisco grew and more people began to use Mount Tamalpais for recreation. Trails were developed and a wagon road was built. Later, a railway was completed and became known as "The Crookedest Railroad in the World." It was abandoned in 1930 after a wildfire damaged the line. Hiking and Bicycle Trails: More than 50 miles of trail are within the park and connect to a larger, 200-mile-long trail system. Bicyclists are challenged by the twisting road to the top of the park's summit. Spring and summer temperatures are warm, with average highs in the 70s and 80s. Fall and winter can be cool, with temperatures in the 50s; fog is common. The park is open from 7am to sunset year-round. Dogs are not allowed on trails, on fire roads or in undeveloped areas. Dogs are permitted on leash in the picnic areas and campgrounds, except in the Environmental Campground.

Great leg workout. I'd scale this on a higher end of moderate. With various inclines and leveled paths this goes back and forth between easy and hard.

Walking through the forest in the fog is like descending into another realm. Having done this hike clockwise we got to see all the scenes first with manageable inclines going back up.

The loop isn't vague but you pass a lot of intersected trails that can easily throw you off course.

Bug repellent is highly recommended.

Would like to echo another review in that this is a beautiful hike with gorgeous falls; however, the hike up is strenuous, even for those who hike often. This is definitely on the upper end of moderate in difficulty.

Go as early as possible as the trails are narrow and become crowded as the day goes on.

Bring a light breakfast, find a rock, and watch the falls as you enjoy the peace.

This is truly a lovely trail around a serene lake, or lakes, if you include Bon Tempe. Narrow 1-person trails meander through tall forests full of gorgeous flora and fauna.

4/5 for confusing trail signs. Choose a trail name and stick with it.

Pretty flat trail looping around the lake. The trail was pretty rocky and had lots of roots sticking up in places. Well maintained and definitely quite beautiful. A few port-a-potties available along the route. Half the trail was in the shade and the other half in the sun with a nice breeze blowing. Went with two 5-year-olds, and somehow it took 6 hours! We did stop for lunch for an hour and little pit stops at some of the "beaches." It felt much longer than 4 miles. We saw wild turkeys, deer, ducks, herons, buzzards, and lizards, most with babies in tow, which were adorable. I am worn out, but I would come back again. Parked on Rocky Ridge Rd near the dam between Alpine and Bon Tempe lakes. There was a machine on the way in that took cash or credit cards for the $8 parking fee and spit out a receipt to display on your dash. Easy.

Great hike -- lots of trail changes. Be sure to download the map before getting started since there isn't any service at the parking lot.

Hiked from the Rock Springs parking lot all the way down to Alpine Lake. The first third of the way is gently sloped downward. The last two thirds become more steeply sloped down with the most challenging part just before the lake. Coming back up was strenuous and required many breaks. We stopped for a snack and to dip our feet in a pool at one of several waterfalls along the trail. We saw lots of dogs and enjoying a lot of shade and wildflowers on the hike!