Sunsational Mount Tam

Hike to the East Peak of Mount Tam in the San Francisco Bay Area

The East Peak of Mount Tamalpais couldn’t be more accommodating: it’s reached via a short hike and easily gives visitors one of the best views in the Bay Area. Yet, like visiting Alcatraz, many of us just haven’t done it. There’s no time like now to make it happen: winter typically brings crisp air, clean skies, and sensational sunsets (as well as fewer people).

Hike to Mount Tam

\
Plan your arrival about an hour before sunset, and take the quarter-mile (one-way) walk up the Plank Trail to the 2,571-foot East Peak fire lookout and summit. On clear nights, it’s nothing but pure panoramic perfection. Mount Tam’s northern lakes wink like polished diamonds in the distance, and Mount Diablo and Mount St. Helena help complete a peak trifecta.

Hike to Mount Tam

Whatever you do, don’t just cast your eyes west or you might miss an opportunity to catch Mount Tam’s giant pyramid-shaped shadow to the east. As the sun sets, the landscape is splashed in a tangerine shade, deepening into golden hues over the horizon. If it’s foggy? Even better. The coast exudes calmness, looking cozily covered by a fluffy blanket. Tam magical way to start the decade!

Hike to Mount Tam

From Hwy. 101 in Marin, take the Stinson Beach/Hwy. 1 exit and go 1 mile to the stoplight at Hwy. 1. Turn left and go 2.5 miles to Panoramic Hwy. Turn right and stay on Panoramic Hwy. for 5 miles. Turn right on Pantoll Rd. and go 1.5 miles to Ridgecrest Blvd. Turn right and go 3 miles to the East Peak parking area. Dogs are OK in the parking lot. NOTE: You won’t be able to stay the entire duration of the sunset because a park ranger will come by to (kindly) boot you out instead of locking you in. Be sure to return to your car with some light left, if you stay that long. Park rangers will lock the gate to the parking area shortly after sunset.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Excellent Point

    Point Reyes National Seashore has several mountain bike–friendly trails that are itching to be explored. For a fantastic ride with sweeping views of Drakes Estero and southern Point Reyes, make the 4.3-mile (one-way) ride out to Drakes Head.

    View
  2. Sponsored

    Anchor Yourself in Anchorage

    When it comes to the ultimate adventure basecamp, set your anchor in Anchorage. Located at the base of the Chugach Mountains, Anchorage gets you easy access to 60 glaciers to see, paddle up to, hike, fly over, or climb.

    View
  3. Secret Beach

    A hidden beach and a killer view? Those are hard to come by, but that’s exactly what you’ll get at Perles Beach on Angel Island. Bike or hike to this beautiful pocket cove.

    View
  4. Marshall Mellow

    Tucked away in the northern part of Point Reyes National Sea Shore, Marshall Beach is a sandy hidden haven set along the warm waters of Tomales Bay. And you can’t get to it by car!

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Bear and Beer Necessities

    The Bear Canyon Trail to Bear Flats at Mount Baldy is a 3.4-mile (round-trip) hike with big mountain views. It also leaves you with enough time to grab a beer and quench your post-hike thirst.

    View
  2. Beach to Brew Times 2

    Nothing represents North County San Diego better than a walk on the beach and a stop at a local brewery—or two.

    View
  3. Big Dalton Views and Brews!

    The Keiser Trail in Big Dalton Canyon Wilderness Park might not be big in mileage, but it’s definitely big on beautiful views of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains.

    View
  4. Earnest in Ernest

    Finding peace of mind in the middle of Los Angeles? Hey, it does happen every now and zen. Northeast of downtown is the 300-acre oasis of Ernest E. Debs Regional Park and a 5-mile

    View