If you ever feel crowded by the tight seven-by-seven urban wonderland known as San Francisco, you need only cross the Golden Gate Bridge to enter the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a breathtaking mountainous region rising majestically above the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. City residents and travelers alike escape north along US-101, eventually reaching the crown jewel of Marin County: Mount Tamalpais. Affectionately referred to as Mount Tam by SF-bay area locals, the mountain peak sits 2,571 feet almost directly above Stinson Beach.
Once you arrive at the top, the view seems never to end. You can see 360 degrees, from the Farallon Islands to the Sierra Nevada Mountains on especially clear days. Although dogs are not allowed on trails explicitly within Mount Tamalpais State Park, Mount Tam allows dogs to walk along Old Stage Road, which quickly crosses into the territory of the Marin Municipal Water District Land.
Dogs are allowed on all trails once they reach this point, and so Mount Tam offers the best entry point for a day hike with your dog while still offering you majestic and breathtaking views of Marin County and the bay area. California Department of Parks and Recreation manages Mount Tamalpais State Park, and they are responsible for preserving the delicate coastal ecosystem found throughout the state park. That is why dogs must cross over into Marin Water District trails before they can roam a little less restrictively.
Unlike most other outdoor hiking in these settings, the Water District trails are unpaved and full of beautiful plant life. Frequent hikers cannot stress enough the idyllic, often awe-inspiring views throughout the area, both from the top and also deep inside redwood groves and along running brooks. Mount Tam offers ideal hiking conditions and diverse environments seldom found anywhere else in California. Come explore the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with your dog. Summit Mount Tam on your own, or bring your dog to Old Stage Road and forge your own way!