Explore the most popular birding trails in Mount Tamalpais Watershed with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

nice but steep at the front

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

25 days 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.

on Bon Tempe Lake Loop

1 month ago

Easy and gorgeous. Takes 1.5-2 hours.

Beautiful trail (would be amazing in winter and spring when water was running in the creek), but hikers need to be prepared for the amount of climbing or descending (depending on which way you travel). The 1000 feet of elevation change is accomplished over MANY stairs created with wood, dirt, and rock. While I was able to handle the descent, the uneven wood and boulders were tough on the knees and ankles.

mountain biking
1 month ago

Good fire road action. Great views and places to refill your water bottle along the way.

This is now one of my favorite hikes, the views on the way up are incredible, the hike itself isn’t that difficult other than rocks the entire trip. Very very private, only a few cyclists passed me near the top.
Parking is a bit sketchy, the start of the trail is a bit steep so don’t get discouraged, the steepness ends quickly.
If you like peaceful hiking this is the one for you

1 month ago

My second time doing this trail - felt harder this time! - but absolutely beautiful, quiet, incredible views along the way and from the top. Echo Karl's comments below - wear sturdy boots, bring at least 1L water per adult (and drink half on the way up!), and food to recharge at the summit. Trail is narrow, steep (the whole way) rocky, uneven, loose rocks etc). Leave the kids behind unless they really love hiking challenges. Saw two other hikers on my way up, otherwise just the sound of rocks and the occasional lizard or crow. Go solo - your mind will be refreshed. Allow at least 1:30 for ascent to the fire lookout, 45 at the summit to enjoy and refresh, and 45 to descend.

1 month ago

A real gem! Beautiful hike with plenty of shade including redwoods In one area. Not all of the trails are marked, the AllTrails map was appreciated. There’s currently a lot of poison oak and it’s buggy in some places since there’s still some water in the creeks. I can imagine it will be gorgeous in the winter after it rains.

1 month ago

Narrow, steep , and rocky pathway. Prepare yourselves with proper hiking boots, attire, hydration, and food. It might be wise to go in the early morning instead of midday.

Unfortunately there wasn’t an In-and-Out waiting for us at the top. The views of the city and the bay were breathtaking all the way up.

Beautiful trail with lots of different kinds of terrain. Pretty lake area and views of mt tam. Didn’t see any other people on the trail.

1 month ago

Big fan of this straightforward loop trail. Gorgeous scenery, varied terrain, sparse population, easy parking, no bikes, roughly half of the loop is shaded, and easy to follow with the perimeter of the lake as our guide.

A few important things to note:
-DO NOT MISS the ticket machine by the ranger kiosk at the entrance to the Mt Tamalpais Watershed area! It's about 2 miles from the Lake Lagunitas Parking Lot and trailhead for this loop. We were unfortunately not paying attention, missed the ticket machines, and had to drive all the way back out the windy Sky Oaks Rd to purchase the $8 parking permit (and the machines don't give change!). Worth it, as you can get slapped with a worse fine otherwise.
-Watch out for tons of red- and green-leafed poison oak in the late summer! If you stay in the middle of the trail you'll be mostly okay, but there are a lot of stray tendrils so high socks or long pants recommended.
-No bikes allowed, which is nice for pedestrians, but be alert for trail runners, horses (and horse poop), and bees.

Enjoy the loop! Lovely photo spots along the way and not too bad in terms of incline, though the whole lake perimeter felt definitely longer than 3.7 miles. Bring a hat and water bottle for the sunny days.

Nice shaded paths, pretty much dry this time of year.

Nice shaded paths, pretty much dry this time of year.

beautiful trail!! not difficult at all, ended up being a little over 6 miles around both lakes. bon Tempe is definitely the more beautiful lake. would highly recommend for a leisurely hike. took about 2 hours.

1 month ago

Nice walk with our dog and two kids, age 14 and 10. Not strenuous. Signage is a little unclear in spots but it isn't hard to follow the All Trails map and stay on course.

1 month ago

Gentle, long hike with various terrains (dry grass, lush forest, rocky paths, and bush trees) that is great for off leash dog walking/ hiking and unplugging. There’s lots of well marked paths on the trail, allowing you to go for 1 mile or 6+ miles, with shortcuts built in should you overestimate the hike.

I felt very safe as a single hiker, and rarely saw others. I did 6+ miles in about 3.5 miles with a 2 year old puppy.

Please bring enough water for the trip- there’s no water source once you’re in. Also there are lots of random picnic tables for you to enjoy and plenty of bathrooms on the route, so bringing food would be enjoyable.

great hike with lots of different types of terrain

Falls were a great finish. Parking was ok...waited ~10 for one to open up but was expected. First/last 1.5 mile of the hike (fireroad) was our least favorite but overall a good Sunday outing.

Done this route plus additional trails this past Sunday totalling about 15 miles with 3000 feet elevation gain. By far was the toughest hike I’ve done but great experience. Still really sore with bruises and broken toe nails despite wearing good hiking boot. Will do it again and be more careful next time.

beautiful hike

Yolanda trail an excellent side trip.

2 months ago

As an amateur hiker, I found this moderately challenging but satisfying. Lots of incline but with a wonderful view. It was a beautiful scenic route and heavily shaded. Terrain was a bit loose in some areas so the correct shoes for this hike is essential. Parking was a bit confusing and I think we began at the wrong end as we started decline end first. I would not bring my children here however there was a family with small children. Overall, one of my favorites so far, definitely one to do again (in the the spring, when there’s more water)

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