Mount Tamalpais: 27 June 2004

Ascent from Downtown Mill Valley to the Summit

Latitude: North 37° 55.742’

Longitude: West 122° 34.666’

Photos by Neil Mishalov

Just north of San Francisco's Golden Gate is MOUNT TAMALPAIS, 6,300 acres of redwood groves and oak woodlands with a spectacular view from the 2,571-foot peak. On a clear day, visitors can see the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, San Francisco and the bay, hills and cities of the East Bay, and Mount Diablo. On rare occasions, the Sierra Nevada's snow-covered mountains can be seen 150 miles away.

"... Tamalpais can be seen as the climax of this incomparable landscape at the continent's edge, this place where the Pacific breaches the thousand-mile mountain barrier along the western rim of America." ---Harold Gilliam

MILL VALLEY and Mount Tamalpais are approximately 20 miles west from my home in Berkeley, California.

Some hike factoids and statistics: Time on the trail: 10:40 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Number of hikers: 1. Distance covered: 10.3 miles. Total ascent: 2,794 feet. Maximum elevation: 2,571 feet. Route: 88 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley => Bernard Street => Tamalpais Avenue => Summit Avenue => Temelpa Trail => Verna Dunshee Trail => Summit Trail => Eldridge Grade => Indian Road Trail => Blithdale Ridge Trail => Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Trail => "Unnamed Trail" => Temelpa Trail => Summit Avenue => Tamalpais Avenue =>88 Throckmorton Avenue Weather: Warm and sunny

All Images and Text Copyright © by Neil Mishalov


Topographic Route Map and Elevation Profile:

Data gathered with a Garmin GPS Map 60C

Topographic mapping program for Macintosh OSX by National Geographic

Satellite Photo Map with Route Superimposed:

TerraBrowser satellite mapping program for Macintosh OSX by Chimoosoft

GPS track converter by GPSBabel

Go HERE to see a very large rendering of the below satellite image. Recommended for DSL or Cable Internet connectivity.

A panoramic view from the summit of Mount Tamalpais (2,571 ft) looking east and south

Scroll to the right to see this panoramic picture ====>

Click on an image to see the full size picture

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A view of Mount Tamalpais (2,571 feet) from Point San Quentin Yes, Point San Quentin is the location of San Quentin State Prison. This is a view of the prison from the visitor's parking lot We escaped from San Quentin and are now in a decidedly more appealing location. This is downtown Mill Valley. The building housing the Depot Book Store and Cafe is the former train depot for the now defunct Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway (1896-1930)
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10:40 a.m.The hike started at 88 Throckmorton Avenue (elv. 80 ft.) the location of the Mill Valley Peets Coffee, a San Francisco Bay Area tradition for caffine affectionados. Starbucks? Excuse me! Then it's up Bernard Street A foot path conveniently connects Bernard Street to the intersection of Summit Avenue and Tamalpais Avenue
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We take Tamalpais Avenue as we begin the climb up Mount Tamalpais. Many years ago you were able to take the Temelpa Trail to the summit starting in downtown Mill Valley. Unfortunately, private property acqusitions closed the lower part of Temelpa Trail A self portrait in a convex "blind-side" mirror A view of the summit from Tamalpais Avenue
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Tamalpais Avenue reconnects with Summit Avenue at 480 feet above sea level. We continue up Summit Avenue Summit Avenue Finally some dirt! At about 800 feet, we leave Summit Avenue and start our hike on some real Mount Tamalpais dirt
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This is the official begining of the Temelpa Trail. We are now at 1,000 feet A view from the Temelpa Trail. the summit is located where the fire lookout observatory is sited. We will hike up the left (West) side of the canyon directly in front of us The Temelpa Trail crosses the Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Trail at 1,130 feet
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Jim Titchy coming down the Temelpa Trail. I have seen Jim numerous times on the Temelpa Trail. He is always heading down the trail and I am always heading up the trail The Temelpa Trail becomes steep and rocky above the intersection with the Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Trail 11:46 a.m.The summit is getting closer
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1,600 feet. A view looking east. Mount Diablo in the distance 12 Noon. A view looking south towards San Francisco Looking down the rocky, rutted Temelpa Trail. This trail is marked on maps dating back to the 1880's
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Parts of the Temelpa Trail are gnarly 12:37 p.m., 2,380 feet. Looking down at some switchbacks on the Temelpa Trail It's no more that 200 feet to the summit
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We are now on the Verna Dunshee Trail. This paved trail circumvents the summit, and is used by tourists that drive to a summit parking area. In the distance is West Peak, site of a defunct Air Force radar facility Looking down at the famous "Double Bow-Knot." This is part of the railroad grade of the Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway. The length of the railway was 8.25 miles. The "Double Bow-Knot" was used to gain elevation in a short distance The foundation of a guest lodge, originally buith in 1896, for people who ascended to the summit via the train. The train line was removed in 1930. the building was demolished in the 1940's
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The final climb to the summit. Only 3 tenths of a mile to go The summit beckons Looking northwest at Lake Lagunitas. The lake is part of the Marin Municipal Water District, which provides potable water for residents of southern Marin County
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A view from the summit (2,571 feet). Looking south towards San Francisco A young Blue Bird checking me out. Notice the pair of sunglasses left by a forgetful person Descending the north side of the mountain on Eldridge Grade
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A view from Eldridge Grade, looking north Bald Hill, located above the towns of Ross and San Anselmo This Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) warily watches me as I take its picture
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At this location I leave the Eldridge Grade Trail and turn on to the Indian Road Trail Exit the Indian Road Trail; take a short turn on the Blithedale Ridge Trail, and then on to the Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Trail The Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Trail. It is being recut by the Marin Municipal Water District
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Waiting to complete the work An unnamed trail that connects the Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Trail with the Temelpa Trail Mandrone tree on the "unnamed trail"
Dale Luehring is 86 years old and has lived on Summit Avenue in Mill Valley for the past 35 years. Indeed, he is a fortunate man!

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This page created on 28 June 2004. All photographs copyright 2004, by Neil Mishalov