Just north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate is Mount Tamalpais. It has redwood groves and oak woodlands with a spectacular view from the 2,571-foot peak.
On a clear day, visitors can see the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, San Francisco and the bay, hills and cities of the East Bay, and Mount Diablo. On rare occasions, the Sierra Nevada’s snow-covered mountains can be seen 150 miles away.
Coastal Miwok Indians lived in the area for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. In 1770, two explorers named the mountain La Sierra de Nuestro Padre de San Francisco, which was later changed to the Miwok word Tamalpais.
With the Gold Rush of 1849, San Francisco grew and more people began to use Mount Tamalpais for recreation. Trails were developed and a wagon road was built. Later, a railway was completed and became known as “The Crookedest Railroad in the World.” It was abandoned in 1930 after a wildfire damaged the line.
Hiking and Bicycle Trails: More than 50 miles of trail are within the park and connect to a larger, 200-mile-long trail system. Bicyclists are challenged by the twisting road to the top of the park’s summit.
Bootjack Picnic Area, on the Panoramic Highway a quarter-mile northeast of Pantoll, has tables, stoves, piped drinking water and flush toilets. It accommodates up to 50 people.
East Peak summit has picnic tables, an accessible restroom, a visitor center staffed on weekends, and a refreshment stand open intermittently during the summer.
The East Peak Summit features a visitor center and a refreshment stand that are usually only open on weekends (during the summer, the refreshment stand is open daily). Phone, picnic tables and fully accessible restroom are also available.
The Mountain Theater, officially the Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, was constructed out of natural stone by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It holds 3,750 people and can be reserved for special events. Each spring since 1913, the Mountain Play theatrical company has presented outdoor productions of Broadway musicals. For information on the Mountain Theater and its performances, contact the Mountain Play Association at (415) 383-1100.
Mt. Tamalpais State Park features a variety of campgrounds that are open all year.
Pantoll Campground, located on Panoramic Highway, has 16 campsites that are a short walk (about 100 yards) from the parking lot. All sites have a table, rock barbecue, food locker, and space for a tent. Phones, water faucets, firewood, and flush toilets are nearby. There are no showers. All sites are first-come, first-served. For current campground fees, call Pantoll Ranger Station or California State Park’s Marin Sector Office.
Pantoll also has an Enroute Campground. The lower parking lot is suitable for self-contained motor homes on a one-night basis between 6:00 PM. and 9:00 AM. only. Panoramic Highway, leading to the camp, is narrow and winding. Motor homes over 35 feet are not recommended. There are no hookups or utilities.
Steep Ravine Environmental Campground, located on a marine terrace along Coast Highway 1, one mile south of Stinson Beach, has nine rustic cabins and seven primitive campsites. Each cabin has a small wood stove, picnic table and benches, sleeping platforms, and an outdoor barbecue. The cabins do not have running water or electricity. Primitive toilets, water faucets, and firewood are nearby. The campsites are a few hundred yards from the parking area. Each site has a table, fire pit, food locker, and space for a tent. Primitive toilets and water faucets are nearby. There are no showers at Steep Ravine Campground.
In order to protect the natural and scenic environment of these cabins and campsites, only one vehicle and five people are allowed per cabin or campsite. Pets are not allowed.
Steep Ravine is a very popular campground and reservations are recommended. Reservations are accepted from 10 days to 7 months in advance.
Alice Eastwood Group Camp, located off Panoramic Highway, has two campsites. Site ‘A’ holds up to 50 people (max). Site ‘B’ holds up to 25 people (max). Both campsites have tables, flush toilets, water faucets with sinks, barbecue grills and a large area for tents. For specific questions regarding the campground, call Pantoll Ranger Station or the Marin Sector Office.
Frank Valley Group Horse Camp, located 1.5 miles West of Muir Woods National Monument on Muir Woods Road, has 12 pipe corrals, water faucets, watering troughs, picnic tables, fire rings and a pit toilet. The minimum size group is 2 horses; the maximum size is 12 horses. For specific questions regarding the campground and for reservations, call Pantoll Ranger Station.
To Reserve a campground, go to Reserve America’s web site (click here) or call (800) 444-7275.
For specific questions regarding the campground, call Pantoll Ranger Station at (415) 388-2070.
The park is open daily at 7 am. Closing hours fluctuate with the seasons.
During the winter the park is open daily from 7:00am to 6:00pm
During the height of the summer (for about a month), the park hours are 7:00am to 9:00pm.
Mt. Tamalpais State Park is day use only, except in designated camp areas. See our camping section for more details.
Hours are posted at the Pantoll Ranger Station and at various locations on the upper mountain. You may also call us for the current Park
ADA Accessibility Notes
• The accessible Verna Dunshee Trail at East Peak offers fantastic views of the bay. Two accessible tables, accessible restrooms, pay phones and drinking fountains are located near the access points of this half-mile loop trail. Accessible parking is near the picnic area by the trailhead. Routes of travel between the restroom, parking and picnic area are accessible.
• The Mountain Theater has a wheelchair platform on the right side of the theater. For further information, contact the Pantoll Ranger Station at (415) 898-4362.
• The Mountain Play offers signed performances and descriptive services. American Sign Language interpretation is provided during the first three performances each season. Please call the Mountain Play Association at (415) 383-1100 for dates and reservations.
For More Information, Contact:
Mt. Tamalpais State Park
801 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley, CA 94941