In the morning, the hike in Muir Woods and Stinson Beach is two miles on flat terrain. In the afternoon, the trail at Mt. Tamalpais is a 3.5 loop with a 900' elevation gain. Stairs on the Dipsea Trail can be slippery when wet.
At the hotel
Hike through one of the few remaining old coast redwood groves in the world. Millions of years ago, redwood and sequoia trees were found throughout what is now known as the United States. Today, the remaining redwoods grow in a narrow band along the moist, cool coastline of Monterey to southern Oregon. By the early 20th century, the logging industry had wiped out nearly all of the redwoods. The lack of accessibility saved the grove in an area once known as Redwood Canyon. In 1905, Congressman William Kent and his wife Elizabeth wanted to make sure this grove remained untouched so they bought 611 acres from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company for $45,000 for the sole purpose of protecting the redwoods. Two years later, a water company in Sausalito planned to dam Redwood Creek which would have flooded the redwoods in the canyon. Kent attempted to stop the plan and the water company threatened to use eminent domain to force the project forward. Kent sidestepped the company by donating 295 acres of the forest to the federal government. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land the nation’s tenth national monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. As a result of Kent’s generous donation, the original name suggested for the grove was Kent Monument. However, Kent insisted that the area be named after John Muir whose dedication to preserving the environment helped establish the National Park System. John Muir described Muir Woods as, “This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.” The hike continues to Stinson Beach. In the 19th century the area was accessible only by sailing schooner from San Francisco, by horseback to San Rafael, or on foot over the Dipsea Trail. In 1870, the first dirt road from Sausalito was completed. The 1906 earthquake brought refugees from San Francisco who built the first hotel and stores. Stinson Beach received its official name in 1916.
At Stinson Beach picnic area; picnic lunch on trail includes water
Hike the Steep Ravine and Dipsea trails in Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Mount Tamalpais is the highest peak in the Marin Hills, which are part of the Northern California Coast Ranges. The majority of the mountain is protected public lands which adjoins the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Marin County Open Space Preserves, providing nearly 40 miles of continuous publicly accessible open space. The name Tamalpais was first recorded in 1845, based on the Coast Miwok name for the mountain meaning "west hill". Tamalpais was home to the Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway, also known as "The Crookedest Railroad in the World," a railroad which meandered its way up to the peak from downtown Mill Valley until a road was constructed to the peak, and cars gained popularity. The 8-mile standard-gauge railroad required geared steam locomotives and operated from 1896 to 1930 when it was abandoned after a wildfire damaged the line. The U.S. Weather Bureau operated a weather station at the site of the now defunct Mill Valley Air Force Station for many years. A unique community event which takes place on Mt. Tam is The Mountain Play, a theatrical production which takes place just six times a year in an outdoor amphitheater. Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013, the first mountain play, "Abraham and Isaac," took place in 1913.
When we are done at Mt. Tamalpais, we will drive to a nearby restaurant where we will enjoy a 3-course plated dinner. Coffee, hot tea, and water are included in the dinner: other beverages are available for purchase.
On your own to do what interests you most.