Mount Tamalpais State Park & Top Things to Do

Mount Tamalpais State Park Top Things to Do

Established in 1963, Mount Tamalpais State Park is one of the Bay Area’s open space treasures and hidden gems. Mount Tamalpais State Park is on the finest parks and attractions of Marin County. These 2,571 feet (784 m) state park contains mostly redwood, fir, laurel trees, Manzanitas, pines, and oak forests. The mountain itself covers around 25,000 acres (100 km2). There are about 60 miles (97 km) of hiking trails, which are connected to a larger, 200 miles (320 km) network of trails in neighboring public lands leading to Mount Tamalpais. 

From the peak of Mount Tamalpais, visitors can see up to 50 miles around and a 360-degree sweeping views of San Francisco Bay Area and the Farallon Islands. Occasionally, the Sierra Nevada are visible, 125 miles (201 km) away. 

The scenic drive on the panoramic highway takes you all the way up Mount Tamalpais State Park, the highest point in Marin County and offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. Your guide will then drive you through Marin County’s scenic backroads and guide you on beautiful off-the-beaten-path hiking trails. These hiking trails are suitable for the entire family; however, you may choose not to participate in the hiking and instead, enjoy views from the parking lot and overlooks along the way. This new outdoor adventure is highly recommended for nature lovers, photographs, and families. The views from the top of Mount Tamalpais State Park are breathtaking! 

Thanks to Mount Tamalpais breathtaking views, the park attracts day-trippers from all over the Bay Area, hikers, bikers, campers, nature lover and photographers!  

 Did you know that there was once  a Railway connecting  Mount Tamalpais and  Muir Woods? Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway was a thrilling and scenic tourist railway operating between Mill Valley and the east peak of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County covering a distance of 8.19 miles (13.18 km), with a 2.88-mile (4.63 km) spur line to the Muir Woods. The railroad was powered by a succession of geared steam locomotives and billed as the “Crookedest Railroad in the World,” the line was renowned for its steep and serpentine route, winding through picturesque terrain to a mountaintop tavern providing first-class hospitality and panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite its popularity, the railway met its demise following a fire in 1929. The railroad was incorporated in January 1896 and closed in the summer of 1930.

Popular attractions and hiking trails nearby Mount Tamalpais State Park: 

Alpine Dam: Alpine Dam is a gravity dam which was completed in 1917. It is 524 feet   long and 143 feet high, with 8 feet of freeboard. It’s located between Mount Tamalpais State Park and Fairfax in Marin County. Alpine Dam to the west of Bon Tempe Lake has formed Alpine Lake which provides water to the Marin Municipal Water District. Below the dam, lies Kent Lake.  Fishing is allowed and Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and trout can be caught. Boats are not allowed on this lake.

Hiking:  Kent trail along Alpine Lake: A trail that takes place just off the shores of Alpine Lake, up through a redwood forest onto a manzanita-covered ridge with great views. −Distance: 5.2-mile lollipop loop −Difficulty: Moderate −Dogs: Allowed on leash

Dell Landing loop: Great hike in winter! 1st 1.4 miles is pretty much straight up with several beautiful waterfalls. Lots of stone steps. You arrive at Dell Landing and then can continue up a more gradual walk through a large meadow and the wonderful sound from streams.

Caston Falls: A great waterfall and a nice trail for hikers to explore. The hiking  trail is about 1 to 1.5 miles one way and follows a creek up and over a hill to the other side to the waterfall. The waterfall descends a canyon and consists of a tier of multiple waterfalls. The views of the surrounding landscape are incredible.  

Bon Tempe Lake Trailhead: Bon Tempe trailhead offers short and easy hikes too. A 2 1/2-mile loop around Bon Tempe Lake is a good choice for beginners. The trail around Bon Tempe Lake is a peaceful, woodsy perimeter loop that is mostly shaded and provides excellent views of the lake throughout. 

Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve Trail Head: 504 acres of pristine habitat in the Corte Madera Creek watershed.  Check out the Cascade Falls that drops 20 feet.  

Cataract Falls: Series of small, scenic waterfalls in a forest setting, reachable via a moderate, dirt-trail hike. Cataract Falls is one of the finest hikes in the area after. Cataract Trailhead is a continuous literal waterfall for most of the trail with beautiful flora and fauna on this hike.  Watch out, it’s steep at points and even  slippery when it’s  wet.

Visit Fairfax in Marin County:   Nestled in forested hills just sixteen miles north of San Francisco, a visit to Fairfax is like a breath of fresh air. You’ll find miles of unspoiled open space, thriving independent shops, restaurants and music venues, and a community that prides itself on retaining its quirky, small-town atmosphere.

The genial, sunny climate makes outdoor activities here a natural choice, and you can explore the area on foot, horse, or bicycle. It’s no coincidence that Fairfax is home to the Marin Museum of Bicycling, a friendly bike culture–center right downtown. Here you can check out the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, smack dab in the area where the sport was invented back in the ’60s.

At night, live music is everywhere. Many world-renowned musicians call Fairfax home, and on any given night, you’ll find local and national touring acts jamming in a relaxed, at-home environment. There’s something for every visitor to enjoy in crunchy, laid-back Fairfax.

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