Quite simple: a bottle of water, good hiking shoes and a trail map. These three things will set you up for an amazing day through Mt. Tamalpais. Growing up spending the weekends in Marin County, this area has always had a special place in my heart. My mom told me stories of her childhood camping and hiking through these very trails. Spending most of our Monday-Fridays in the city, it is great to refresh and get out on the weekends. Being a big fan of nature, the close Mt. Tamalpais makes for a great escape.
Just 30 minutes outside of San Francisco, Mt. Tam is up on the Panoramic highway overlooking Mill Valley. There are over 50 hiking trails in the state park but there is one that I favorite the most. This trail takes an average of 2 hours to complete and is a full loop.
Park near the Pantoll Ranger Station Park HQ (located on the Panoramic Highway, parking is $8 or find street parking for free, just make sure it is a valid area to park)
Make sure to have water and proper attire & grab a map at the station
Head down the "Old Mine Trail" and you will come out of the woods into a clearing that overlooks all of the city and ocean. There is also a bench that makes for a great view.
After the clearing take the "Dipsea Trail" down and around for a while, there are a few stairs as you come into the mountain. You will cross a bridge at the end and will have to make a choice for left or right.
Take the right trail called "Steep Ravine Trail" and head up the mountain. There are a lot of stairs but the views of the waterfalls and creek are stunning. You will end up back at the main parking lot at the end.
This is a great way to spend the weekend and is a fun hike to do with friends. The scenery and views are so different along the trail and the variation makes it interesting. Always make sure you know where you are going before embarking as the mountain is huge. There are tons of other trails in Mt. Tam but this is my favorite.
I always say "the best way to start the week is to end it properly."