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This trail starts out gently but after a half mile gets steeper and then quite steep in places, but well maintained. It eventually levels off some and gets to the protected top of the mountain, where there are BIG old growth redwoods around Collier Spring and Northside trail to the north. After the springs, which are not advertised as potable (but I have) you can climb another 400 feet and half mile not quite as steep to Ridgecrest for a great view. I prefer returning by other trails to make a loop and avoid the slippery gravel sections of Collier Springs, which could be dangerous if in a hurry. After rains this can be a wonderful, noisy little cataract trail for sections, although you may have a tricky ford at the bottom.
This is one of my most favorite trails for cardio, as you can just walk fast once it gets steep and have a no impact workout.

did the loop once last spring it is more like 12 miles the fall are alot better after a heavy rain

great forest trail down into Muir woods. pay attention to trail markings and gps. We got side tracked a couple miles but worth the detour! pretty moderate especially bc of the length. took about 4hrs with 9ppl @ ~23min/mi.

Really enjoyed this route! I see a variety of descriptions here, some of which don’t match up with my experience....

Middle Peak Fire Road; Lakeview; International; Upper Northside; Eldridge Grade Fire Road

If you go counterclockwise on the loop, it’s towards the easy end of “moderate” - I felt like the whole trail went down or level, but somehow I magically ended up where I started (meaning the climb was so subtle it didn’t really register). Steepest climb on my route was hike the highway back to my car in the east peak lot.

You do need to pay attention to your route though! There are several unmarked trails that can easily lead you off course. And in future, I’ll start from the International trailhead instead of the east peak lot/middle peak fire rd.

Most of the views everyone talks about are on the Eldridge Grade portion and at the trailheads/parking spots. Beautiful trek through madrone and oak woodlands to redwood groves at Collier Spring. I hiked it after a decent storm so there was a lot of downed limbs on the trail. And I had it entirely to myself for everything but the last mile when two mountain bikers passed by on the fire road.

hiking
15 days ago

A beautiful hike with rewarding views. The climb up definitely feels a bit harder than moderate but it’s a much easier return. As some have noted, coming back down all the stairs and downward train can be a little rough on the joints. I’d mark it a 5-star trail if it had more regular alternation between the up and downhills.

If you’re not up for the full hike, within the first mile you’ll have seen most of the prettier landscape.

The perfect 6 mile loop trail that winds past Phoenix Lake, through mossy groves, and up to steep and climby fire roads. Views are abundant of Mount Tamalpais, San Francisco, and the East Bay.

This trail will kick your butt about 80% of the time. Take breaks as needed, bring lots of water and a joy the beauty.

Beautiful, more moderate than difficult. Lots of bike traffic but still a great experience.

hiking
23 days ago

As others have said, it's definitely a steep climb, and I was surprised this hike was labeled as moderate (I couldn't finish and turned back around about halfway through); that said, it's one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever done in the Bay Area -- from the minute you start out you're surrounded by stunning scenery, and every few feet is another gorgeous spot to rest and breathe in the incredible atmosphere. I went fairly early (9:30am) and the trail was really quiet and empty -- on the way out around 11:30 I passed a ton of groups, so I suspect afternoons there are quite crowded. Would definitely recommend to anyone with a moderate fitness level, provided you bring lots of water and are prepared to take a lot of breaks!

Nice climb but no way is it 2.7 miles total. Closer to 5-6 miles up and back. Beautiful and green. Water just trickling right now. Need rain!

Great hike but it is really long. Once you are down to the lake it seems like it will never end. I took two kids and we made it!

does anyone recall where the sundial is located on this hike? its an old stone Indian sundial which is off the trail itself. I think its on the ridge part above Forest Knolls.

Just a heads up the trail map at the trail head is different than the one posted here, so pick one or the other to follow.

Saw some nice doggos!

Beautiful, easy hike for a Fall day.

The trail is closer to 6 miles than 5 and the elevation was approximately 1200 ft. The trail is definitely a great for cold winter days as there is little tree cover.

This is in accurate. It was way longer than 7 miles and took over 4 hours to complete. Little bugs swarmed my head buzzing in my ears and the whole thing is steep up or down, so hard on the knees. The view of the lake was nice.

Some beautiful scenery but trail not well marked, a number of intersections with no clues as to what goes where. Restroom facilities gross.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice easy walk, good for all ages!

nice but steep at the front

Lots of trail options. Trails are diverse terrain and beautiful views on some. Phoenix Lake circuit was lovely.

I did this trail but started at alpine lake took the trail counter clockwise, the trail up winds in and out of large beautiful trees and many creek crossings, and waterfalls. nice wooden bridges to keep you from getting wet even during rainy seasons. Once you get to the top, the trail loses its beauty and other hikers disappears going down.
There is a creek crossing just past the lake that you might run into trouble during rains there is no bridge.

This is a fabulous trail. This trail leads to the East Peak of Tamalpais, and the views of the entire Bay Area from here are spectacular. We made it up to the Fire Tower in less than 2 hours. You cannot go into the Fire Tower but you can clamber all around it to see 360 degrees of views. There is also a paved loop trail around the peak that is about 20 minutes and provides more great views (and is great access for strollers or handicapped folks from the parking area nearby). We started the hike at about 9:30 am on a Sunday and there was no problem finding parking along Panorama Highway. We got to the peak at 11:15 am which was perfect because the fog had just lifted and we had gorgeous clear skies. Highly recommended hike!!

This hike is a gem! It’s an easy hike, no elevation changes, with beautiful views lol the way around.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice 8.2 mile hike. Some parts are steep, but nothing over the top

Rated as moderate but it’s actually a pretty good challenge

We decided to continue hiking on the first trail to the left, about half way on this trail and hiked all the way out to where it comes back out on the lake. It’s only a few miles but the various switchbacks are pretty killer if you go that way and it is not a loop trail. This was a little while before I got the app so I was not ready for it. Very pretty though!

One of the best hikes I’ve done in Mt Tam. You will go though many different types of forest and nature. The lake is really beautiful about halfway through.

We took a couple of detours and made it closer to a 12 mike hike in about 4 hours.

Highly recommend.

They are not kidding about this being a hard trail. I measured almost 9.5 miles. It took me a solid 3.5 hours with no breaks. I ran about a mile of it. Lots of steep stairs and inclines. Helen Markt Trail was a killer. I felt like it wasn’t going to end. This is definitely a tough one even for the seasoned hiker! Lots of beautiful scenery and wildlife: Bring lots of water and snacks.

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