Ingredients for a romantic afternoon: combine one Marin icon (Mount Tam), two historic inns (see below), your favorite hiking partner, and wine and cheese for seasoning. The result: a one of a kind inn-to-inn scenic hike and picnic. The hike starts behind the elegantly rustic Mountain Home Inn. Climb up the Hogback fire road, taking time to stop and enjoy the views of Muir Woods, Mill Valley, and the coast. The path levels out onto the Old Railroad Grade fire road, which leads to your destination, The West Point Inn. Once a stopping point on the old Mount Tam railroad, this 104-year-old inn can only be reached by hiking trails. Snacks, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are available there, but you can also pack in your own food and drinks. From the picnic grounds and wooden deck of the inn, toast the sweeping views of the Pacific and San Francisco Bay. For a different return route, take Nora's Trail and Matt Davis Trail, crossing the crackling creeks and ducking around redwood trees along the way. The journey ends back at the Mountain Home Inn, where a cozy bar and expansive outdoor deck await.
Mountain Home Inn, 810 Panoramic Highway, Mill Valley; 415-381-9000.
Walk up the fire road, behind the Mountain Home Inn, toward the fire station. Continue past the fire station and the water tank. Stay on this fire road (do not take the Matt Davis Trail) until the Old Railroad Grade. Turn left and follow it to The West Point Inn. To return, hike down Nora's Trail from the inn. At Matt Davis Trail veer left, which takes you back to the Mountain Home Inn. The entire loop is 3.75 miles. Dog-friendly!