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 access gorgeous natural areas. One such area, Mount Tamalpais State Park, can be found adjacent to Muir Woods
City residents and travelers alike escape north along US-101, eventually reaching Mount Tam, as its called by locals, to indulge in wildlife watching, hiking, biking and picnicking.
Up hillsides covered variously in grasslands, woodlands and chaparral, the view from the top of the mountain stretches for 360 degrees, from the Farallon Islands to the Sierra Nevada Mountains on especially clear days. However, if you are bringing your dog, there are restrictions which limit their access to climb this furbulous peak.
Dogs are not allowed on most of the 60 miles of trails within the state park, which can limit the adventure. Inside Mount Tam, leashed dogs can explore any developed areas including picnic areas and campgrounds, and hike the Verna Dunshee Trail on the East Peak where you can see the remains of an 1896 tavern for railway passengers, and even have a picnic with a spectacular view. Your dog can also join you on any paved roads, and on the Old Stage Fire Road.
If your dog is still itching to hike, a large section of Mount Tamalpais is actually part of the Marin Municipal Water District Land. In fact, you can walk along the short Old Stage Fire Road into the Water District Land to access all of its dog-friendly trails!
Dogs are allowed on all trails past the Bootjack campground, which makes Mount Tam a pawrific entry point for a day hike with your dog amidst 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.
Note that if you enter Mount Tamalpais State Park by the main entrance, there are no parking or entrance fees. However, if you pass through the trailheads for Bootjack, Pantoll or East Peak, there is an $8 fee per vehicle. Be sure to bring enough water to share with your thirsty pup, and clean-up bags to leave nothing behind. Keep your dog leashed in all areas of Mount Tam and Marin Municipal Water District Land.
For pawmazing views and the ultimutt in outdoor adventure, head to the Mount Tamalpais State Park with your pup!