Mount Tamalpais

Park Brochure

brochure Mount Tamalpais - Park Brochure
Mount Tamalpais State Park Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. The panorama from the 2,571-foot peak is breathtaking. On a clear day, view the Farallon Islands out to California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (415) 388-2070. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service ® Mount Tamalpais State Park 801 Panoramic Highway Mill Valley, CA 94941 (415) 388-2070 · © 2007 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) sea, the Marin County hills, Mount Diablo, San Francisco, and the hills and cities of the bay. N orth of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais State Park rises majestically from the heart of Marin County. Mount Tamalpais captures our attention with its sweeping hillsides cloaked with chaparral-covered ridges, grasslands, and oak woodlands. Deep canyons filled with solemn redwood groves intersect these ridges and slopes to create a diverse environment for a wide array of plant and animal species. The breathtaking panorama from Mount Tamalpais’s 2,571-foot peak includes the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, San Francisco Bay, the East Bay, and Mount Diablo. Spring and summer temperatures are warm, with average highs in the 70s and 80s. Fall and winter can be cool, with temperatures in the 50s; fog is common. CULTURAL HISTORY Native People The Coast Miwok lived on or near Mount Tamalpais, staying near water sources throughout present-day Marin County. These Native Californians hunted small animals and deer, collected acorns, and gathered flora, marsh plants, and shellfish. They made baskets and clamshell disk beads, trading them for locally unobtainable resources, such as high-grade obsidian from Lake County tribes. The Coast Miwok had a rich culture and a complex and intricate language. However, their way of life changed soon after the arrival of Europeans. In 1770 two explorers, Captain Pedro Fages and Father Juan Crespí, named the mountain La Sierra de Nuestro Padre de San Francisco. This was later changed to the Miwok word tamalpais (tam-al-pie-us), which, roughly translated, means “bay mountain” or “coast mountain.” Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway Residents of San Francisco, whose population exploded after the 1848 gold discovery, used Mount Tamalpais for recreational purposes. Trails were developed, and a wagon road was built to the top of the mountain in 1884. The Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway, completed in 1896, carried visitors to the mountaintop and the Summit Tavern, a hotel and restaurant. The slope from Mill Valley to the summit was so steep that the railroad had to negotiate 281 curves, equivalent to 42 complete circles, billing itself as the “Crookedest Railroad in the World.” In the section known as the “Double Bow Knot,” the track paralleled itself five times within 200 yards. In 1907 the “gravity car” was designed to transport visitors from the top of the mountain to the redwood-filled canyon of Muir Woods. Requiring only gravity and a brake, open-air rail cars carried passengers down the mountain to Muir Woods at an exhilarating 12 mph. The railroad and gravity cars allowed sightseers to travel from Mill Valley to the summit, down to the Woods, and back to Mill Valley. The Scenic Railway’s famous gravity cars were popular until the advent of the automobile and the construction of Ridgecrest Boulevard in 1925. A gravity car replica is displayed at the Gravity Car Barn on East Peak. Conservation Efforts Over the years, millions have flocked to the mountain, affectionately called “Mount Tam,” to relish the spectacular views and hike its trails. Generations of Mount Tam enthusiasts have worked hard to protect the mountain and keep it open to the public. The oldest of these citizen groups is the Tamalpais Conservation Club, organized in 1912. In 1928 William Kent, an ardent Marin County conservationist, and his wife donated 200 acres of land in Steep Ravine to help create Mount Tamalpais State Park. The park was later enlarged through the efforts of several hiking clubs, led by the Tamalpais Conservation Club. These organizations orchestrated a grassroots campaign to purchase additional land for the state park. Gravity car on Mount Tam’s Scenic Railway, ca. 1900 THE STATE PARK TODAY Now one of the oldest and most popular units of the California State Park System, the park has grown to 6,300 acres. Completely surrounding Muir Woods National Monument, the park is bordered by Marin Municipal Water District land on the north and by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the northwest and south. NATURAL HISTORY Geology Many people think the 2,571-foot peak is the remnant of an extinct volcano. However, geologists believe that Mount Tamalpais was created due to its location near the San Andreas Fault, one of the world’s most active faults. Over time, the mountain has risen from the earth’s crust, while erosion has left only solid rock exposed in the highest peaks and ridges. Common rock types here are graywacke (sandstone), shale, greenstone, chert, quartz tourmaline, and the easily identified green serpentine, California’s official state rock. Plant Life The varied topography and soils of the park support a tremendous diversity of plant life. More than 750 plant species can be found in the park. Hikers pass through open grassland, chaparral, and oak-covered knolls, or they descend through dense stands of Douglas-fir and California laurel into deep, fern- and redwood-filled canyons. In spring the slopes of Mount Tam come alive with the vibrant colors of wildflowers. Hillsides are sprinkled with California poppies, lupines, Douglas irises, goldfields, and shooting stars. Spotted coralroot, fetid adder’s tongue, and Pacific trillium are among the plants that hide in the deep shade of the forest. The Redwood Forest Mount Tam’s legendary Steep Ravine Trail leads hikers along Webb Creek through a stand of tall redwood trees. The sound of rushing water prepares visitors for the fragrance of damp earth and the sight of ferns along the creek’s banks. The redwoods form a canopy above the water cascading over the rocks. Alongside the cascade, hikers must climb a steep ladder to return to the beginning of this beautiful trail. Although the park can be foggy year round, some scientists are concerned that increased temperatures and decreased fog due to climate change may threaten the survival of the coast redwoods environment. Animal Life Raccoons, gray foxes, squirrels, bobcats, coyotes, black-tailed deer, and mountain lions sometimes roam the slopes. Bears and elk once wandered the land, but they vanished as a result of hunting and ranching before the park was established. Birdwatchers can view more than 150 species of birds within or very near the park. Red-tailed hawks, northern harriers, and turkey vultures soar over the open grasslands by day, while the sounds of great horned, spotted, barn and screech owls fill the night. The hollow drilling of pileated, acorn, and hairy woodpeckers adds to the forest sounds. Along the coastline, there are numerous oceanic and intertidal birds to identify. Red-tailed hawk RECREATION Hiking — Hikers enjoy more than 60 miles of park trails, connecting to a 200-mile trail system over land managed by the Marin Municipal Water District and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Cycling — Road bikers are challenged by the infamous Seven Sisters climb and the twisting road to the top. Mountain bikers can enjoy the Coast View and Dias Ridge multiuse trails as well as park fire roads. Day Use  — Bootjack, on Panoramic Highway east of Pantoll, has picnic tables for up to 50 people, stoves, water, and flush toilets. East Peak summit has picnic tables, an accessible restroom, and a visitor center staffed on weekends. a small wood stove, picnic table, sleeping platforms, and an outdoor barbecue, but no running water. Restrooms and water faucets are nearby. Reservations are required. The Alice Eastwood Group Camp, located on the Panoramic Highway near the Mountain Home Inn, has two sites for organized groups of 25 to 50 people. Both sites Spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay area can have tables, grills, and a be seen from the Verna Dunshee Trail near East Peak. large tent spot. Frank Valley Group Horse Mountain Theater  — The 3,750-seat Camp, on Muir Woods Road about one mile north of Hwy. 1 at Muir Beach, has tables, Mountain Theater, officially named the fire rings, drinking water, pit toilets, horse Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, was built troughs, and corrals for up to 12 horses. of natural stone in the 1930s by the Civilian Visit or Conservation Corps at Steep Ravine. call (800) 444-7275 for campground and cabin Each spring since 1913, the Mountain reservation information. Reservations may be Play Association theatrical company has made seven months in advance. presented outdoor productions of Broadway musicals. For dates and reservations of INTERPRETIVE PROGRAMS Mountain Theater performances, contact the At East Peak, a visitor center and recreated Mountain Play Association at (415) 383-1100. Gravity Car Barn are open as volunteer To hold special events in the park, see the staffing allows. At the Mountain Theater, park event application at free astronomy programs with telescope Camping —  Bootjack and Pantoll viewings take place on select Saturday campgrounds, on Panoramic Highway, each nights April through October. Elsewhere on have 15 first-come, first-served sites about 100 the mountain, guided hikes are offered year yards from the parking area. Both campsites round. Visit offer drinking water, firewood, and restrooms or for details and with flush toilets. There are no showers. links to interpretive programs and events, Rocky Point /Steep Ravine Environmental such as free guided weekend and moonlight Campground, on a marine terrace one mile hikes. Inquire at the Pantoll Ranger Kiosk south of Stinson Beach, has seven primitive about self-guided hikes and ranger-led sites and nine rustic cabins. Each cabin has programs for schools and other groups. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES • The accessible half-mile Verna Dunshee Trail at East Peak has fantastic bay views. Accessible tables, restrooms, and drinking fountains are nearby. • Spectacular vistas may also be seen from an accessible .4-mile portion of the Old Mine Trail from Pantoll Station and .25 miles of the McKennan Trail. • Pantoll and Bootjack each have accessible camping, restrooms, and parking. • Cabin #1 and environmental campsite #7 at Steep Ravine are accessible. • The Mountain Theater has a wheelchair platform on the right side of the theater. • The Mountain Play Association offers signed performances and descriptive services during the first three play performances each season. For more information, call the Mountain Play Association at (415) 383-1100. Road Fire F F ian Ind R o ad 800 o o –K Fire Tr a il de 400 ra oKo 1600 Vic e ko G o ra d E- o ad o- Ca G ri ity Grav Tra il View 680 37 Vallejo San Pablo Bay China Camp SP San Rafael Benicia 4 Richmond Pacific Hw Cathedral Grove Av e 800 Trail Tourist Club ay nu e Sun Tr a a Four Corners Pa M ir u il SF Bay 400 Dipsea Tra il d hw OAKLAND Edge woo d Aven ue to Downtown Mill Valley oia Valley Roa Se q u d Hig 24 80 101 y Berkeley Angel Island SP SAN FRANCISCO Ocean d oo Tiburon 1 Golden Gate NRA Ro 40 0 rail e l ine T Woods Tra il El d l kT ra i Cr ee n o r am i c Trail 800 d Dipsea Homestead Hill Trail Homestead Hill Fire Road 400 800 n to Hwy. 101 1 Lone D ias 0 400 0 Spur Trail k ay ee H ig h w Cr 40 S TAT E 40 Ta Pu ver m n p l vis ay hw Hig att Trail Ho Railroa d Ol Old ge ine Alp Verna N dle Upp er F er n a il E a st Ri 00 24 Mi d e s id rt h No Bl st cre ri Ridg e Sp Ro c k Trail R &H Ra Trail ring Sp C o li e r West itasgun La Trail in g Spr Rock - as L a gu ni t untain Top Trail Mo t E as e vin Ra p ee Fire it a L ag u n Fork ck Ro Tra il St Cano py Cr e e k kin oc is D av P Tra i l as Di 800 M R o ad GOLDEN 0 Fire 400 ne 40 GGNRA 800 el i or ok 400 Re d G AT E 1 wo od P Pacific Way 1 Kaasi Fire Road Green MUIR BEACH P to Coastal Trail Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center R E C R E AT I O N Middle Green Gulch Trail (bikes uphill only) Rid ge ay Muir Beach Overlook Dias lch Highw South Entrance N AT I O N A L AREA Coyo te ek Gu ne GGNRA Trail e Cr 0 i rel 40 Sh o rail l T Samuel P. Taylor State Park 15 miles west of San Rafael on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard (415) 488-9897 800 Sh iw PA R K 400 of f Tra il H ig hw ay k ee Cr e Ridg d oo Slide Ranch China Camp State Park Four miles east of San Rafael on San Pedro Road (415) 456-0766 il ad w ds t Cu NEARBY STATE PARKS Angel Island State Park In San Francisco Bay Ferries from Tiburon / Vallejo/San Francisco (415) 435-5390 Ro Heather Gull Rock Ow PLEASE REMEMBER • The park is open from 7 a.m. to sunset. • All natural and cultural park resources are protected by law and must not be disturbed or removed. • Camping and fires are permitted only in designated areas. • Except for service animals, leashed dogs are allowed only on paved roads in developed areas, family campgrounds, and picnic areas. Dogs must be confined to a vehicle or tent at night. • Horses and bicycles are allowed only on fire roads and posted hiking trails. • Be alert for poison oak, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and ticks. • Bus transit serves the park. Visit or call 511 or (415) 526-3239 for schedules and stops. oo W Mu ir Trail d St 1 Mile 1.5 Kilometers 0 Tra 40 Frank Valley Group Horse Campground View ld Co Re m 400 C o as t Rocky Point Trail R id ge 1 Rocky Point-Steep Ravine Environmental Campground East Entrance l Trai Rocky Point ey) Vall 800 400 (Fra nk P M iw ok Steep Ravine Cabins re a il St Trail Helen 00 p Trail 12 Novato Ridg e H ig w h a 400 lch ad 29 15 Kilometers 10 Pi Gu Ro Napa 121 580 ic k e 5 Samuel P. Taylor SP Edgewood Avenue dw d th 0 e Panoramic Trail Re oa Bli v D ri 29 116 10 Miles 5 Mt Tamalpais SP m ain M Fi re R d t Casc ade ra il Hi ll 6 40 s We 12 Sonoma P a 800 Fire e d 0 400 R e R 101 Monument HQ Ro 800 800 d ra m it no ee e d um w Cr th roa d S Railroa n oint R i d ge il Fire Bl i Rail a Tr Road Muir Woods Visitor Center nt le da l Pa l R d a lch Ol Tr elp Gu d m Te da yo ee Tr Ol d Trail Hillside Trail Bohemian Grove Fire k o- Double Bow Knot Kent Memorial Pa r Ca e re 00 800 Tra Fern Creek wer Lo t n Cu t wo od Spur Trai k White Gate 0 d Plevi Ea s Trail Ke Ho Fire Trail 0 G Road R Bohemian Grove Trail er 200 Trail R ack Fire gb d Road V Trail Trail De un Mountain Home E Tenderfoot dg P e Trail o od Av e nu e P oo Trail e Los t MUIR WOODS N AT I O N A L MONUMENT sea Fire Petaluma stw p ek 40 Whe ele r 1 Ea 1200 Cardiac Hill Ha Throckmorton Fire Station il Tra Ben Johnson Trail Dip r F ir C Fern Trail e d t ra Joh nson Ben lvel d Tr en k Mc K Cr e e 400 R oad Tr a u n i t as ne Lag e Trai l C re m Bench Ladder pe oa d i lr Koo- Ca il Si er Alice Eastwood Group Campground k Cree ck Tr a 80 p 400 Roa 12 ree k Trestle e Trail 800 Bu Lone Tree Spring ad de rk sid e ike 00 oo Tr Alic Sp o Cr e e k Bo n ake 16 ta G ra Fo rth il Tra ic 400 Tr 2571ft 784m Plankwalk Trail Ho il Tra 0 ire D un shee 2400 Fire Lookout East Peak 00 Da Ma tt t t le s dw tja ck oo d Pantoll Campground TCC P 20 i Tra ie w This park is supported in part through the Friends of Mt. Tam P.O. Box 7064, Corte Madera, CA 94976 (415) 258-2410 • ram ais St a t e Pa r k e P Ol st h © 2010 California State Parks (Rev. 2016) No ler Pan o Ra C TC Gravity Car Barn de Trail Road ac Viewpoint Gr a 1600 1200 c ky Be Spring ilroad 0 12 Re il Tra ad dg R o ad e Ra d vis Ranger Station Restrooms Ro Mil Da Van Wyck Meadow P r Coa c Roa C Ro Ro 00 1600 Inspiration Point Gr a d Visitor Center R oad Pantoll Ranger Station Park HQ 800 d a Middle Peak r ai l ra T No West Point Inn il Re k Picnic Area n Parking a Locked Gate e Exhibit P Trail u Sp a Tr c Pe 1200 ire lp Tama Bl e st cr Fire d M S Red Rock Trail de k 00 k t k Fi r a il i tjac a Bootjack Campground and Day Use TCC wer O l d Min e Lo o De er P a r k F i r e R if Trail a Tr R oa bb We Dipsea P (Off-Limits) 2560ft 780m il d c ee ng il Tra a Cr ie w ke v La Trail Trail 20 il a 16 Moun 2400 a Tr P se l il Tra th s i d e Colier Spring e dg West Peak 0 e Dip e ic ra m c Campground: Horse o Pan 800 1 O Campground: Group P Matt West Entrance n B Gra Min o Boo Old s l Old Air Force Station t Old S y h Campground: Environmental Upp e r Forbes Bench 20 00 Mountain Theater Fire Tr Pa n to ll Tra il 0 TA M A L PA I S a Tra i or 2000 er n Int ationa Mountain Theater y ti n P Spur Silv Tr vd Eas tt 0 24 Trail c Drinking Water 200 O’Rourke’s Bench Trail Davis Bridge Campground USGS BM 2040ft 622m d ock Table Rock le a Accessible Feature Blv Ridgecrest Stinson Beach Fire Station Trail: Hike & Horse Accessible Trail (Hiking Only) 00 S Trail: Hike Trail: Hike, Bike & Horse b Ta Ma e vd 20 Fire Road: Hike, Bike & Horse Ave Hwy Major Road Paved Road ere STINSON BEACH si d d Gra Rock Spring P C r ee k t Hang Glider Ri Site #2 ad La g uni ta s ac ed rr a lo n e Legend o 400 a Fa ro y Trail tar B el v Ar 2000 Hang Glider Site #1 nid de eek West Tra il rt h Mount Tamalpais E l d r i dg e k t 00 No Rifle A Ro Fire Trojan Point re l e in lle Potrero Trail ac Sho Ca Cr 2000 800 ad il ge 12 e Av Ro p low d rift ad Ca aD Tra 00 1600 L o w er Azalea Meadow Trail Potrero Meadow DISTRICT e dg Se Roa Mud Flats m as sea n Ballou Point B o li n Ca son Wil Dip ll Trail Rid 1600 Mud Flats n Sti Bolinas Lagoon O’Brie tar 2000 MOUNT 400 y 12 2000 Barth’s Retreat Ca Ray Murphy’s Bridge 800 1 l nas il Rd AREA Creek ke 1200 to Bolinas and Point Reyes L a u re De Simmons Hang Glider Tr Site #3 a n Boli na Mic il e Fir R o nt stein 1925ft 587m Rid Tr a WAT E R Barth’s Twin Knolls e s 0 800 For vd ov Azalea Meadow ys Bo Ben Bl ge 0 Cataract Falls t s 1600 R E C R E AT I O N 40 cr es Ke Trail St rk il ro Tra rtu McKennan Gulch Trail lch na Gu li Bo 800 ge Laurel Dell 1800ft 548m il 40 ad M i d dl e Marsh Old Ro il Tra id Bench Bare Knoll Fo nt t es R rs Mo Tr a t Wes N AT I O N A L ch st tr y 00 High l Gu Cross ra 16 1600 un Fork M U N I C I PA L c G AT E Ke Co Cat a 1600 1200 Knoll 2560ft 511m il Ea rk st We 0 Tra il GOLDEN t e R e Tr a Fo 120 B s na oli M id MARIN ard g id AU D U B O N CANYON RANCH lev e Bo u 1600 e F ir Hidden Lake rg st l Ken Broko Spring 1200 i Tra g dl ur cre 0 Go t ge 80 00 ede es Rid rf ax Road Sw Bo li n asFa i W 12 Trail E Lake Kent g Markt ri n Alpine ek E as t Cre 800 North Entrance Bo 800 it a s Sp La g u n Tra il 800

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