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The Best Hikes in Golden Gate NRA National Park

113 Triplog Reviews in the Golden Gate NRA National Park
Most recent of 28 deeper Triplog Reviews
8.98 mi • 1,749 ft aeg
Pretty darn good hike today. It was cloudy and kinda dark the entire time, but the weather was perfect for hiking. It wasn't perfect for photography, but whatever. I did this with my brother Bob and some Patriots fan.

We started from the parking lot just south of the big parking area in some fog drip. Nothing major, and it went away quickly. We went down the Lost Trail to Fern Creek. Fern Creek Trail was nice with all of the water in the creek, and that was a precursor to some nice waterfall action later on.

Bootjack up to Van Wyck Meadow is a bit of a slog, but it was stunningly beautiful today due to the waterfall action. However, it also has an aggressive grade that really made us work for it. Always good to do. The trail didn't do what I expected it to do after the meadow, and we ended up taking the TCC Trail to Pantoll. It was longer than we had planned on, but totally worth it because the views were really cool.

Old Stage Road from Pantoll to West Point Inn is always a treat with its views of much of the Bay Area, serpentine geology and Sargent cypress. We saw a pair of ravens there which was a treat because I hadn't seen any for a while.

The rest of the hike back was uneventful if incredibly scenic. There were a number of small waterfalls all along Old Railroad Grade.
8.63 mi • 1,725 ft aeg
I just wanted a medium grade hike away from home, and Mount Tam did the job again. The trails weren't as crowded as they were the last time I was there, probably because conditions were not ideal as they quite often are. I saw a bunch of ravens for the first time in a while which was cool. I also saw a lot of dark eyed juncos rooting about in the underbrush.

Today was not a blue bird day, but it was still a nice day for a hike. The weather was overcast with lots of haze in the air. Nights have been cold recently so people have been having fires, and there hasn't been any rain or much of onshore breeze so we're basically doing our best impression of Southern California. Luckily a lot of the haze is just water vapor.
11.24 mi • 2,558 ft aeg
Another beautiful day for a hike on Mount Tam. My cousin was in town from Atlanta for another cousin's wedding, and a hike through Muir Woods then to the top of Mount Tamalpais seemed like the right thing to do. The conditions were as nice as they ever get, and there weren't too many people except for in Muir Woods Nat'l Monument near the visitor center. A better way to do this would be to bag the visitor center, and head down the longer way from the east side of the peak. The way down the south side of the peak is short, but painfully steep.

Very few poppies, but quite a bit of everything else. I'll learn these California wildflowers one of these years.
8.99 mi • 1,750 ft aeg
It was great to get back on the trail after being laid low by the flu. That flu was a doozy! It was a gorgeous day so of course there were lots of people, but not as many as usual. Mount Tam is almost the perfect local hike because of the views, varied terrain, endless possibilities and mix of vegetation types. The big drawback is its popularity, but I can't be a hypocritical hater. This place is my go-to though I hope to do a LOT more hikes in the outer range of reasonable driving distance this year.
Played around with a new wide-angle lens. We'll see how that came out.
8.23 mi • 1,626 ft aeg
Another gorgeous day on Mount Tam. I expected to see lots of people today, and I wasn't disappointed. The views were superb, and Snow Mountain was clearly visible living up to its namesake 100 miles away. Snowy peaks of the Mendocino Range were even visible beyond Snow Mountain. Hopefully the guy from LA who I gave some hiking recommendations enjoys those hikes.

I parked alongside the Panoramic Hwy about 1/2 mile south of the California Alpine Club, then proceeded up the Hogback Ridge Trail past Throckmorton Fire Station and a short stretch of the Old Railroad Grade (fire road) to the upper terminus of the Matt Davis Trail. It was steep uphill to this point, but Matt Davis is mellow as it follows the contour to the west to Bootjack and down to Stinson Beach. This trail is frequently done as a shuttle. I took it all the way to Bootjack then went up the Old Stage Road to the West Point Inn. The inn has a view south of the Marin Headlands and San Francisco, and must be a spectacular place to spend an evening.

From there I got back on the Old Railroad Grade, and took it to the road near East Peak. My map indicates a way to take the Eldridge Grade down the north side of East Peak a short ways then cut up to the tiny visitors center. There was no shortcut so I walked back up to the road, and took it to the visitors center. From there a 500' long wooden ramp heads up to the actual peak and a small fire lookout. The views up there were superb except for the brown-orange haze over my East Bay home. I don't think the no-burn warnings are having much of an effect.

I headed down the steep Fern Creek Trail to Old Railroad Grade then Hogback and the car. I need to get in better shape!
1.25 mi • 165 ft aeg
Snagged ferry tickets last minute and hopped on the boat at 12:30 with my wife, Tanya, Dustin, Renee and Mike. Upon arriving, a ranger was starting a talk about the story of one of the escape attempts, so we listened to that. The laundry building that is usually closed was open for an art exhibit, so we went through that too before heading up to the cellhouse to do the self-guided audio tour. Got to look through the hospital wing as well due to the exhibit, so we were pretty happy we got to see some areas that normally are not open to the public. Barely made it onto the 3:45 boat, would've had to wait another 45 minutes for the next ferry. I'd been to Alcatraz once before, and I'm glad we went back, it's an interesting place, the audio tour is super well-done, the ferry ride is fun, and the views across the Bay are pretty sweet too.
3.97 mi • 1,021 ft aeg
Since it's my last weekend in the bay area (that's right, moving back to AZ next week!), I wanted to hike this classic in the Marin Headlands. It did not disappoint! I think I chose the right direction of travel, taking in the coastal views down the Dipsea and enjoying the shade and climb back up Steep Ravine on the hottest day in SF this year. The day wasn't over just yet, I added on a few more miles after this one.
8.17 mi • 1,970 ft aeg
I was wondering if I would ever make it back out to Pacifica and hike Montara Mountain. Having nothing else planned for labor day, I figured it was time. I expected cooler temperatures, even brought a jacket in my pack, but it turned out to be a much hotter day than I anticipated. The best part was having the ocean to cool off in once I completed the hike.

This is a great day hike for a number of reasons. First of all it's a peak with great views of the Pacific and the bay area. The hike is challenging without much route finding, and on a holiday weekend I saw less than 10 people. The neat thing (depending on where you park) about hiking from Highway 1 is that you can follow it with a day at the beach!
10.17 mi • 1,857 ft aeg
Interesting weather today. It was 59º at the start, and the Coastal Trail had a brisk wind and lots of fog that was a little bit colder. Luckily it was all uphill so keeping warm wasn't a problem even though I wore shorts and a t-shirt. I think I got some nice videos of the fog blasting over the top of the ridge. The blowing fog abruptly ended about a half mile below Pantoll, and it was bright sunshine. Interestingly, there is also an abrupt change in vegetation here. The area with blowing fog had short maritime chaparral on the west side of the ridge and redwoods down on the east side. The sunny area was a Douglas fir forest.

I then went down the short Alpine Trail to the Bootjack Trail. I've never hiked Bootjack before even though it's a great connector between Muir Woods and the high country on the western side of Mount Tam because it was closed for repair for the last 3 years, only reopening recently (I don't know when).

I saw a doe with two fawns grazing on the upper Bootjack before braving the hordes in Muir Woods. The tourons didn't disappoint, but there sure were a lot of them. I went past the gift shop and out towards the park's entrance before taking a steep uphill spur trail up to the Deer Park Fire Road which runs parallel to the Dipsea Trail, then down Deer Park to Muir Woods Road. Crossed the road then took the flat Redwood Creek Trail as it parallels the road through a riparian area back to my car.
7.28 mi • 1,000 ft aeg
Hit the waterfront this morning as a wrap-up to HRS2014. Always interesting stuff at the Saturday morning farmer's market at the Ferry Building :next: ... market.php

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