Biggest hike yet: nearly 9 hours from Muir Woods to Mt. Tam peak

Biggest hike yet: nearly 9 hours from Muir Woods to Mt. Tam peak

Pretty amazing to think back over our training season. We started off with a 2-hour hike, working our way up to a 5.5 hour hike a few weeks back on Mt. Diablo that seemed pretty tough. Yesterday topped them all though. We hiked from Muir Woods up to the top of Mt. Tamalpais’ East Peak, then back down again (going up one side of the mountain and back on the other). In the end it was an 8 hour and 40 minute hike, more than 16 miles long with plenty of hot steep uphill and knee-crushing downhill. Amazingly, I got home and walked a bit more to go have dinner at one of my favorite neighborhood spots, Ziryab. And this morning, I feel great. I guess that’s what getting in shape is. Let’s go do it again! 🙂

Mt. Tam is an amazing state park if you haven’t explored it much before. There are shaded parts, redwood groves, manzanita groves, rocky terrain, barren grasslands, exposed ridge lines and completely shaded ones. In one day we saw it all. Plus we caught a view of Mt. St. Helena in the distance where Markkus and I hiked a couple weeks ago, and Lake Lagunitas/Bon Tempe lake, an area I’ve hiked with Team in Training as well as on my own. Yesterday’s hike brought it all full circle – all the shorter hikes here and there that seemed like very different destinations are all really not that far apart and often interconnected with trails that cross from one park to the next.

Considering the time we were on the trail, I have surprisingly few photos. I guess after awhile I just got in the groove of walking… and walking… and walking. The trails were mostly uneven with either rocks or roots along the way, so a lot of time was spent looking at my feet, making walking while photo talking virtually impossible. Of course we did pause here and there to take in the views, grab some lunch or a snack, etc. It wasn’t all go, go, go.

The team split in two for the hike: 6-hour hikers and 8-hour hikers. The 8-hour hikers are those planning to do the most difficult trails in either Tahoe or Rocky Mountains. Here you can see the 8-hour group is a small but mighty one, shaded in the redwood groves of Muir Woods before we reached Mt. Tamalpais State Park.

The 6-hour hiking group coming up behind us. They did an out-and-back making it up to just above the West Point Inn (not quite to the East Peak) before having to head back.


A welcome potty stop at the East Peak of Mt. Tam. Sort of funny to see all of our packs lined up outside the bathrooms while people in their nice street/city clothes step out of their cars to take in the view with minimal walking.

That’s Mt. St. Helena in the distance, middle, with its north and south peaks. This photo was taken at full zoom, so it was farther away than it looks.

That’s me, at the very top of the East Peak.

One of the wonders of a hike like this, where there’s an option of driving to the lookout is that there is also a concession stand in addition to the real toilets. Many of the team enjoyed ice cream and popsicles before we started the 4+ hour hike back.

The fog looking south from Mt. Tam’s east peak.

Up Next: Next weekend is a two-hike weekend, with a shorter hike on Saturday in Sibley Regional Park for our event kickoff and another all-day hike on Sunday on aptly named Mt. Diablo (we’re going to try to bag the 4 peaks of Diablo in one day, though it may only be 3 depending on our pace).

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All photos copyright of Johanna Hoadley