3 of Our Favorite Hikes on Mount Tam
When we worked with Sarah Hanna of Artful Correspondence to design a map of "our curated guide to some of our favorite places," we knew we would include some of our favorite Marin-based hikes.
Here's 3 and why we love them:
Matt Davis Trail
This is one of our absolutely most cherished "forest surfing" adventures with a major part of the hike covered. It's important to me (Bonnie) to find as many dense forest hikes as possible as I don't do well in the sun with my fair skin and having had melanoma*. The bridges over water, the light dappling through the trees and the gorgeous smells, views and evidence of wildlife (lots of woodpecked branches!) make this one of our faves! The trees are ginormous and you really feel gobsmacked by nature here! So many photo ops!
We like to start at Bootjack Campground (the drive them from Mill Valley is gorgeous, too!) and when facing it (bathrooms behind you), we go right. We'll walk for a few miles and turn back or do a loop for the return trip. Sometimes, we'll start at the Mount Tam Watershed, park in the designated area, walk up the fire trail by the firehouse and catch Matt Davis up the hill (and go left) and hike to Bootjack that way. If you want to extend your hike, look up info on West Point Inn and hiking into the Mountain Theatre. Loops might include Nora Trail, Old Stage Road and Rock Spring Trail.
We love the rolling hills and dramatic views of Stinson Beach and the Pacific Ocean when the weather is clear and this trail also has significant tree coverage if you are in search of shade*, like me. Spring is gorgeous with the dotting of California Poppies on the trail! We often hike it in the mist and it's super moody and a great place for what we've found typically to be quite a bit of solitude. A photographic spot includes a rusted out carcass of a wrecked car that's possibly been identified as a '41 Pontiac. Watch your step for skirting lizards and be on the look out for the occasional bunny hop!
We typically park at Pantoll Station (the drive there is just fantastic and sublime and we like the ease of a parking lot and bathrooms). Cross the street and begin the hike. Lots of options to extend the hike with intersecting trails if you do some research. Alltrails has an extensive loop if you want to explore the details here.
Hoo Koo E Koo
There are a variety of entry points for this trail and I'm suggesting one a bit further into Marin, in the Kent Woodlands (Thank you to my friend who co-founded Everviolet for turning me on to this!). The Crown Road trail system here is a total treat with fire trails and single track trails and super accessible if you are gathering friends as there is ample parking and you can stop in Woodlands Market for provisions before or after. So much forest and beautiful views and it's been my experience that it's not crowded with hikers and bikers! When I take Hoo Koo E Koo and get to the waterfall, I often head down the creek for a bit (which ultimately would become Dawn Falls) and just enjoy the smells and the light!
For Crown Road, once you're in the Larkspur area, from College Ave, you'll turn onto Woodland Rd at Woodland Market, left onto Evergreen Dr. and continue winding your way up hill passing Ridgecrest; 50-feet uphill from this junction, turn left onto Crown Road, and follow to the end-ish (parking is here until the dead end). Please be respectful of the neighbors when you're parking and it's been recommended not to leave valuables in your car. You can also access Hoo Koo E Koo closer to Mill Valley per these directions.
*must add as a melanoma survivor, please do apply sunscreen, wear hats and protective clothing, even in the shade!
Many more hike suggestions to come... Follow our letter pressed map for some of our published fave hikes or frame it as a momento of your trip! If you come by our shop we'll gift you one of the smaller digitally printed maps with even more day trip suggestions!
Happy forest surfing,
Bonnie & Jeffrey
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