New Trail on Modern Hiker: Stinson Beach to Mount Tam

 Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach

Whoo hoo it’s Friday! I wanted to share with you that Modern Hiker published my third write-up for their website called Stinson Beach to East Peak Fire Lookout Loop! Yay! It’s a 15-mile round-trip, 2900 foot elevation gain hike in Mount Tamalpais State Park and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

This was a challenging trail to write about, partly because of its length and partly because there are two potential starting points. One starts in the Stinson Beach parking lot, but the gate doesn’t open until 9:00 a.m. (Kind of a bummer for early bird hikers like me!) A second parking area is 0.3 miles away from the beach. It is open 24/7, but, well, it isn’t the beach! At the end of the day, my friends agreed that starting and ending at the beach was how they would want to hike it. So, that’s how I wrote it :)

I was really glad to have Onur join me for this one. I love seeing his reactions to vistas and scenery: It helps me focus my write-ups on interesting facets of the hike. He also makes my hikes more fun. Aside from the usual oatmeal and leftovers, Onur packs a special drink (tea for cold hikes, vitamin water for hot hikes) and we usually stop at our go-to breakfast place in the South Bay, Feride’s, to pick up Turkish breakfast simit with eggs and cheese to go. That’s exactly what we did on this hike, enjoying our breakfast at a picnic table in the parking lot before getting started.

 Steep Ravine

Steep Ravine

So what’s great about this hike? Wow, there’s so much diversity of scenery along the way, coupled with a really cool railroad history on Mount Tam. Obviously, you’re starting at Stinson Beach, then in 1.5 miles you are inside a ferny redwood forest. After that it’s a climb on old fire roads that were transportation routes at the turn of the century: Stage coaches used Old Stage Road to take railroad passengers from West Point Inn down to Stinson Beach, then known as Willow Camp. Old Railroad Grade traces the path of the Mill Valley & Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway that ran from 1896-1929. At the summit of East Peak, the turnaround point, there’s an active fire lookout and the best views of the San Francisco Bay I’ve seen from Marin so far.

 Sunset from East Peak, Mount Tamalpais. Mount Diablo in the distance.

Sunset from East Peak, Mount Tamalpais. Mount Diablo in the distance.

Stay tuned for more Bay Area hikes from me on Modern Hiker! Coming up…hikes in Point Reyes National Seashore, The Presidio, and more :)

Have a great weekend!

 Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach