Most Peaceful Hike of All

Peaceful short hike around Lake Lagunitas in Marin County

Is this the most peaceful one-hour hike in the Bay Area? It's got our vote! Lake Lagunitas is the smallest lake in a series of five found on the north side of Mount Tam, so it’s got that tiny but mighty charm. Do a 1.5-mile loop around the lake's shore-hugging trail.

It’s mostly flat, so nearly everyone can do it. It’s beautiful, so nearly everyone will appreciate it. This pristine oasis could easily be a stand-in for a lake in the Sierra: there are no manmade structures in sight, just Mount Tam lording above and fronds of tall grass reflecting on the water.

The silence is only occasionally interrupted by a quacking duck or a few passing hikers or mountain bikers. The first few hundred feet up to the water is a bit of a climb, but it’s minor, and soon you’re at the alpine-style lake. Start a clockwise loop around it.

The trail has a few benches and breaks open to what feels like a secret view of Mount Tam’s east peak … appearing close enough to reach out and touch. 

Follow the sign, keeping right at the junction and crossing over a small bridge to keep circling the oasis. Some of the trail is under a canopy of redwoods and pines, giving off nature’s best fragrances. Cross a few bridges enroute then enjoy a post-hike picnic at one of the many tables amid a grove of redwoods by the creek.

Bring layers for the cooler temps here in winter. Lake Lagunitas is where you go to forget you’re among millions of others in the Bay Area. 

Lake Lagunitas is on Mount Tamalpais Watershed land (get directions on their website). There’s an $8 day-use fee. Once past the entrance gate, follow signs to the lake. From the parking area, hike up to the dam and make a clockwise loop around the lake. Dog-friendly!

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