Mount Tamalpais State ParkLeave review
About Mount Tamalpais State Park
With amazing views of the Marin County hills, San Francisco Bay, the East Bay, and Mount Diablo, why wouldn’t you want to go Mt Tamalpais camping ASAP? Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, amongst the redwood groves and oak woodlands, Mount Tamalpais State Park is in the heart of Marin County. Spring and summer temperatures are perfect for camping with highs in the 70s and 80s. The diverse environment features a wide array of plant and animal species. Hikers enjoy more than 60 miles of park trails, connecting to a 200-mile trail system. Mount Tamalpais State Park is the perfect getaway for day hiking, biking, and sightseeing, as well as overnight camping accommodations.
Campgrounds in Mount Tamalpais
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Drop some Mount Tamalpais knowledge on us.
-Cabins 7/8 closest to water.
-Has cell service there so it's good for coordinating groups, can still get your 'grams in, but there is something to be said about TRULY unplugging (though not a bad place to "work from home".)
-For park extra cars, easy to find spots on the highway just by the gate.
-Echoing Courtney below: BRING CUSHIONS especially for the benches- all of our arses are not the happiest after 2 nights. Standard camp pads were fine for the beds, though they did slide around a bit.
-Plenty of wood on site so save some room in your trunk ($8 bucks/bundle).
-Many spigots nearby.
-Clean bathrooms available with fresh water (no showers).
-The camp host is wonderful and super friendly, so don't leave your cabin wrecked!
People go nuts for the cabins, but I personally love the campsites at Steep Ravine better. Great views, and good privacy due to the terrain. Sites 2 & 3 are the best to book for a big group, and are also protected from wind by awesome Cypress trees. Love it!
Bring LOTS of cushioning for the bed platforms in the cabins. A backpacking mat did not cut it. Bathrooms, both flush toilets and pit toilets, were very clean and well maintained. No showers but who cares when you're enjoying this view
Great experience. Even though we arrived at 9:30AM on Saturday we were able to get one of then last available first come, first serve campsites. We stayed at the smallest site (#14), which is directly in the fog line, so we would recommend getting one of spots closer to the parking lot, to avoid getting wet feet :)
In the night, went to the mountain theater (Check the schedule) to listen to lecture about astronomy and had the chance to watch the stars afterwards, through one of the provided telescopes.
Pantoll is a great place to start various hikes including Stinson beach and Muir woods. On Saturdays and Sundays 9:30AM they have guided hikes too.
For hikers and bikers they always have an extra spot.
A nice site within 30 minutes of San Francisco. We headed up there Friday after work and had no problem getting a site, though it was early December and a low of 40°F, so I didn't expect there to be too many people there.
Bring $25 cash per night to put in the box. You have to put a tag in your car so they know whether you've paid or not.
The sites are very close together. Not much privacy.
Each site has a fire ring and a little cabinet to put wood and stuff in. You can purchase firewood from the person in the RV at the bottom of the parking lot if the office is closed.
Camped at environmental site #4. Very secluded and only steps from the ocean view. This whole area is pretty secluded because there are only a limited number of cabins and environmental sites (for tents). Falling asleep with the ocean sounds was the best part. I do hope to go back in the future and check out one of the cabins. They are hard to book so if you come across and opening book it!
TIP: You'll need the gate code before entering. Luckily I was able to call.
We had a great weekend here! The sites are perfectly located for some great hiking down into Muir Woods or up to Mount Tam's peak. We arrived Thursday afternoon since it was a long weekend and we wanted to be sure to get a spot - we were the first ones there and had our pick. The sites are sort of close together and not far from the road, but still great bang for your buck. Will come back!
Bootjack is a short drive from the city and dog-friendly. The campground is really pretty; nestled in the side of a mountain along a river. But the individual sites are really close together.
Lots of trails nearby, like Matt Davis, so this is a prime spot for hikers and long-distance trail runners. We showed up midmorning on a Saturday and got our pick of the campsites. There's a grill and stone stove, but neither come close to a fire pit. You can get firewood at the Pantoll Campground a half-mile away--cash-only.
Easy drive to get to and perfect location to do any of the numerous trails around. You can hike up the mountain or hike down to Stenson Beach.
We got here on Sunday at 6pm and there was still several of the 'first come first serve' camps left. We didn't bring any firewood and were easily able to collect everything we needed to keep a fire going for several hours. We got here and decided it would be nice to have a beer or two and found a market at Stinson Beach only 12 minutes away. Be sure to bring warm clothes; during the day you're above the fog and it can be sunny and warm but at night the fog will roll in and it can get very cold.
Steep Ravine campground is so private and relaxing. We brought our friends who were visiting California (from Scotland) here, and it was such a unique and memorable experience for them. There is not a bad location or spot, the views from all the sites are overwhelmingly beautiful. I love the windy drive down (or bike ride) to get down to the campground. This is one of my most favorite places to camp and while a bit more challenging to book, considering a weeknight stay is totally worth it!
Awesome location for hiking--we did the Stinson Beach loop on day one, and hiked to the summit of Mt. Tam on day two. We were able to get a spot on a Saturday in August, but only because we got there EARLY--I got there before 7am and there were people already waiting for a spot. Same goes for parking: the lot had completely filled up by 9am. (That said, when we left on Monday there were a ton of sites left unoccupied.)
Best spots are 16, 15, 13, 10, and 11, although 6-9 aren't bad. We were at 16, and while it was a steep little hike to get there, it was one of the most secluded spots. I personally would try to avoid 1-5 if possible....while they're an easier walk, they are very close to the parking lot with very little privacy.
Beautiful location so close to the City. Had no idea this was here! The girl got us a spot that must have been a cancellation because it was on such short notice.
Very secluded. Only noise was from the raccoons in the brush waiting for us to fall asleep to take our food. Oh and the waves. Love falling asleep to that sound. We were there on an extremely nice night. No fog or clouds and very little wind. We brought our own firewood but they do have bundles for sale in the parking lot, along with wheelbarrows to help you get it to your site.
We didn't have much time to explore the area as we got there around 8pm, but the morning revealed the beautiful view that we had not seen yet. Be sure to trek down to the little cove if you can.
So far I have tent camped at site 5 in sunny January and just now at site 6 in rainy October.
Both times were stunning. The tent sites are remote and separate, hardly visible. Longer walk back to the (flush) toilet but outhouse is in close proximity. Fire pits and provided food lockers must be used, our ice chest rolling around at 3:30 am (because it wouldn't fit) reminded us of that. Thankfully it was locked and the animal couldn't get inside.
Be sure to walk the pathway out around the tent sites on the bluffs. Stunning views. Deer and wildlife are EVERYwhere. Keep the place pristine.
Wanted to do a walk-up to stay an extra night, but the Camp Host's house said this was done by lottery at 2:00 at Pantoll. Be advised!
Great little first come, first serve campground.
Got there around 6:45am on a Friday (Veterans Day Weekend) to secure my spot, and there were already 3 parties ahead of me.
If you arrive before the camp ranger, there are envelopes for you to put your camping fee in.
Cost is $25 bucks a night, and that includes parking.
Stayed in site 9, which turned out to be a perfect spot to solo camp. If you're coming with a group, definitely try to grab spots 10&11. They are stacked on top of each other, but are more isolated than most of the other spots.
They sell firewood at the Rangers office for $8 a bundle.
stayed at env campsite 1. beautiful views of the water. would highly recommend camping.
1: it wasnt very windy at in the evening/night, but got very windy in the morning and our tent was pulled from a few anchors. so anchor your tent very well even if it seems tame at night.
2: firewood is $8
3: *print your reservation confirmation to put on your dashboard. per the caretaker, they often ticket those who don't have reservation on the dash.
4: there are bathrooms + water + storage on site for campers
5: there are wheelbarrows for bringing supplies from parking lot to your campsite
6: *call for the gate code the day of!
up on the mountain. Bring a blanket and explore the universe together! (April through November)
Bring warm layers! Due to its elevation and location, Mt Tam can get chilly in a hurry.
The Steep Ravine cabins are absolutely epic….no other word for it! Just make sure you book well in advance or check back often for cancellations (happens all the time!)
Get ready to use your Jazz hands and spirit fingers -- Marin and out of town hikers LOVE to wave at you and greet you while you're hiking! The vibes here are super positive.
Camping here was a nightmare. Had yellow jackets swarm us from sunrise to sunset. Couldn't cook without them flying around us. I'm surprised that I did not get stung.
We stored our food in the lockers provided and that too, was just covered in bees. We ended up eating in out tent. Packed up the next day and left as we were unable to even cook breakfast and enjoy the crisp air. Very unfortunate.
My favorite place i have ever camped. The campsites are private and each one has its own personality. Little trails wind around the cliffs and down to the ocean. In the spring there are hundreds of calla lilies. The bathrooms are very clean. Nearby hiking is beautiful--the Steep Ravine trail (across the street from the entrance) follows Webb Creek up to the top of the mountains where you can see the bay and all its glory.
The group sites are very well equipped. Group A's site has a large sink w/ running water, fire pit, two bbq grills, large shelter with 4-5 picnic tables, 5-6 more picnic tables spread around the site, 2-3 cabinets to store supplies, and lots of good tent sites scattered over a large area surrounding the shelter. The center of the site is less than 100 ft. from the parking lot. If you're looking to rough it, this is not the place - it's more like glamping than camping. This is a central location for many hikes on Mt. Tam - 2.5 miles to Muir Woods, < 2 miles to Pantoll and the Steep Ravine trailhead, 2 miles to Bootjack, and 2 miles to the Dipsea trail. It'll cost you $200+ per night, but with room for 50 people, it's a deal.
I planned a camping trip here with my boyfriend for his birthday so we could hike Alamere Falls. It's a perfect location to stay at for a few days and check out all the hikes in the area. There's a great parking lot, with clean bathrooms and water fountains to fill up water bottles. You don't have to go far to find amazing views, and there are hikes to suit all skill levels. It is first come, first serve though, so make sure you plan ahead for that!
There are fire pits at the camp sites, and there's not too much privacy between each site.
Make sure you bring cash.
Its an adventure! The mice ate/stole a 4" hole out of my jacket overnight. Beautiful view, and nice hiking. Get lots of firewood. Can be windy and cold. Bring curtain material for privacy. Don't bring wool.Keep your food stuffs in a tough container. Bring cushions for bedding. Only parking for 1 car per cabin. then you have to carry your stuff down the hill to your cabin. Honestly, for the effort not sure we'll go again. Might camp there instead.
Parked at the Stinson beach community center and hiked up. Theres a small general store near the base if you forget anything.
Its a 3.9 mile hike to the campsite which starts uphill. Its a gorgeous hike with views of the beach and woods. Save some weight by not bringing as much water, there is water at each campsite. There is also firewood for $8.
Campsite is a slope uphill, numbers start 1-16 from the bottom of the site / parking lot with the higher numbers on the ridge. Best sites are 16, 11, 13 as they are on the peak and more secluded. 6 is also OK.
$5 per person camping if you hike or bike in.
$8 for your car.
$25 per camp site.
Super convenient as it is so close to the city. The campground is beautiful and well maintained. Each site has a firepit and its own water source. It's so close that you actually get a view of the city / bridge on one side if you're on site 16 (site at the top of the campground hill).
The only thing I didn't like was that I had to lug all my stuff up the giant hill from the parking lot. I was solo camping, so it took a few trips back and forth.
They sell bundles of wood for $8. Cash only.
Vangoers- it's all hike in (but the campsites are just a stone's throw from the parking lot). But you can park in the lower parking level and be undisturbed for the night. There's one van/RV spot (bottom right of the parking lot) that has access to its own fire pit and picnic table.
First come, first serve.
I came up on a Sunday so it was no problem to secure a spot. Very friendly ranger that allowed me to browse spots before choosing.
It gets darker earlier because of the canopy, so set up camp before heading out on any sunset hikes. You are right at the base of a ton of trailheads so take your pic of coast or bay.
The sites had a fire pit, grill, table and a sizable lock box.
Tried camping here over the weekend. I read that it is first come, first served. So I left early, driving from Sacramento, and arrived at 10am. There were only a couple sites left. I didn't realize I'd be hiking my gear up a hill from a parking lot and had packed heavy stuff (cooler, big tent, etc). I also didn't realize how quickly the sites get taken by Bay Area folks. I had called the ranger station at Pantoll and a gentleman there said if I arrived by noon, I would get a spot. This just isn't the case. Also, the weather forecast was way off. High was supposed to be 76, but it was 93. Plus, it's very crowded. I paid for 2 nights, but ended up leaving on the 2nd day. Definitely not my fave place.
History of Mount Tamalpais State Park
Mount Tamalpais was thought by the Coastal Miwok Indians to be the home of their god, Coyote. It was (and is) a place of the deepest reverence.
The first recorded ascent of Mount Tamalpais was made by a trader named Jacob Leese in the 1830’s. His native Miwoks friends refused to accompany him because they believed nobody would survive a visit to the sacred summit. After Leese returned alive, Chief Marin, after whom the county is named, also climbed to the top and enhanced his reputation among his people as the bravest man in the world.
With the Gold Rush of 1849, San Francisco exploded and more people began to visit Mount Tamalpais for recreation. Trails were developed and a wagon road was built. Eventually a railway was completed and became known as "The Crookedest Railroad in the World." It was abandoned in 1930 after a wildfire damaged the line. You can learn more about the railroad at the East Peak Summit Visitor Center which features the Gravity Car Barn, a small museum of railroad history (open on weekends only).