This is the third most challenging climb in Marin County, beginning 3 miles up Muir Woods Road from Muir Beach adjacent to the Muir Woods Visitor Center parking lot.
Mt. Tamalpais is the highest peak in the Marin County and has 2 peaks - the East Peak (2,574') and West Peak (2,563'). The white radar dome that sits upon Mt. Tam's slightly lower western peak is quite discernible from afar.
This climb is divided into 4 parts:
- Muir Woods Visitor Center to Panoramic Hwy: This segment is wooded at the bottom, opening up to views of the forested hillside and roadway we just travelled towards the top. The climb is 1.5 miles, gaining 550’ at 7% average grade.
- Muir Woods Road/Panoramic Highway to Pantoll Road: This is the least strenuous of the 4 segments to the top of Mt. Tam at 4.5 miles, 960’ and 3.2% average grade. Along this route we initially have views of the West Peak of Mt. Tam, the distant Pacific Ocean, a brief glimpse of the white radar dome we will end just below, and finally wooded borders to the roadway. We end this segment at Pantoll Campground and Mt. Tamalpais State Park There is a Visitor Center here where information about the area and maps are gladly dispensed by the rangers.
- The third leg is up Pantoll Road from its intersection with Panoramic Hwy to Rock Springs Parking Area (staging area for many television commercials). Along this route we have great views down to the Pacific Ocean and as we climb higher, of Mt. Diablo, San Francisco Bay and San Francisco. This segment is 1.4 miles / 490' / 6.2%.
- The final leg is along Ridgecrest Blvd east and is the easiest and gives us more spectacular views of Mt. Diablo, San Francisco Bay and San Francisco. This segment ends as Ridgecrest "crests" just east of the radio dome atop Mt. Tam’s West Peak ant is 1.5 miles /510’ / 6.8%.