Casting a gorgeously dominant shadow over Mill Valley and much of Marin County, the park surrounding the 2,571-foot…More peak of Mount Tamalpais is a treasure trove for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes. Originally named La Sierra de Nuestro Padre de San Francisco by two explorers in 1770, the name was changed to the Miwok word Tamalpais in honor of the Coastal Miwok Indians who lived in the area for thousands of years before Europeans arrived.
The park is loaded with more than 50 miles of hiking and bicycling trails that connect to a wider, 200-mile trail system in the regions. Road cyclists flock to the windy roads that twist up and around the mountain's summit.
A few highlights:
Bootjack Picnic Area hastables, stoves, piped drinking water and flush toilets.
East Peak Summit features a visitor center and a refreshment stand that are open daily during the summer and on weekends most of the year. Phone, picnic tables and restrooms are also available.
The Mountain Theater, also known as The Cushing Memorial Theater, is a natural-stone amphitheater that seats 3,750 people and was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The theater hosts the renowned Mountain Play each spring, produced every year since 1913.
Pan Toll Campground, located near the ranger station on Panoramic Highway, has 16 campsites, each equipped with a table, rock barbecue, food locker and space for a tent. There are no showers. Campsites are $25 per night, though discounts are available.
Steep Ravine Campground, located on land overlooking the Pacific Ocean just south of Stinson Beach, has nine rustic cabins and seven primitive campsites. The cabins do not have running water or electricity, although primitive toilets, water faucets and firewood are nearby. The campsites are a few hundred yards from the parking area. Pets are not allowed at the cabins or the campground. Steep Ravine is incredibly popular and reservations are accepted from 10 days to 7 months in advance. Steep Ravine cabins are $100 per night and campsites are $25 per night.
Alice Eastwood Group Camp has two campsites that hold up to 50 ($225 per night) and 25 ($110 per night), respectively. Both campsites have tables, flush toilets, water faucets with sinks, barbecue grills and a large area for tents. Frank Valley Group Horse Camp, located 1.5 miles west of Muir Woods National Monument, 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. The cost is $75 per night for the first two horses.
For questions about camping, call the Pantoll Ranger Station at 415-388-2070. To reserve a campground, call 800-444-7275.