This hike, which begins at the Rock Spring parking area on the southern edge of Mount Tamalpais, provides one of the most spectacular views in the Bay Area. Depending on the weather conditions, our hike may be hundreds of feet above the fog, or on a clear day we'll enjoy a panoramic view of the Golden Gate, San Francisco, and the Pacific.
Depending on our pace and the number of pauses, the hike will take approximately 3 to 3-1/2 hours, covering approximately 6-7 miles. There are several hundred feet of elevation changes, so it will require some stamina to keep up with the group.
For more information about what to expect from this hike and other typical hikes with this group, see
Our Hiking Philosophy.
Important: This hike will be too difficult for many hikers, especially those who have physical conditions. Please do not join us if you have difficulty climbing hills, if you cannot keep a steady pace of at least 3 miles an hour,
or if you have difficulty with rocky terrain along the trail.
Where we'll be going:
- The hike begins with a short walk to O'Rourke's Bench and a nearby hill to enjoy the view.
- We'll then return to the Rock Spring Parking Area.
- Next is Cataract Trail to Cataract Falls.
- And then a walk along Laurel Dell Trail to Potrero Meadow.
- Lunch at Potrero Meadow (approx. 1:00 pm).
- We'll then walk along Benstein Trail back to the parking lot.
- We'll return to O'Rourke's Bench.
- And then back to the parking area.
Download map (pdf)
Where are we meeting?
We're meeting at the Rock Spring Parking Area, which is on the southern end of Mount Tamalpais.
How to get there
To get there, you'll drive on a long (although charming) winding road from Hwy 101 up the side of Mt. Tamalpais. To find the location, copy and paste these exact coordinates into the search field at maps.google.com:
Don't rely entirely on the Google directions. Please study the map and the turns you'll need to make up the side of the mountain.
At intersections, look for signs for Mt. Tamalpais. Please leave early to ensure you'll arrive by 11:00 a.m. Travel time from Palo Alto (for example) is about 75-90 minutes, depending on traffic.
TIP: Getting there early gives you extra time to enjoy the view.
Using caution when carpooling