Commercial Break: An Easy Day Trip to Mount Tam

Dec 31, 2013 at 6am

The Ford Fiesta Movement continues with another day trip up north, this time to Mount Tamalpais. I was looking for an easy getaway because it's the holidays and there's so much to be doing at home – baking, wrapping presents, drinking cider, you know how the holidays go. I feel fortunate to live in a city where the weather allows a mid-December escape from it all without a big SUV or a set of snowshoes.

On the way to Mount Tam I stopped at Toast Restaurant in Mill Valley for a classic egg breakfast with a side of – get this – toast. Between Mill Valley and Mount Tam, there are about ten super sharp turns up a crazy winding road (not for the carsick) called the Panoramic Highway. This highway has a very appropriate name and is beautiful to drive along.

I chose to hike around Pantoll Campground, just off of the Panoramic Highway. The Friends of Mt. Tam website is a great resource for finding hiking spots, by the way, and it offers a great map of the area too – which the group recommends always carrying with you on the trails. You can find a hike suitable for any length of time, and even an easy two miler takes you through a variety of woods and along the coast with stunning views. My short trek also went by the Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, a large natural stone amphitheater built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

After the hike, I hopped back on the Panoramic Highway to Highway 1 for more scenic driving. Along Highway 1 near Muir Beach is The Pelican Inn. It's a cozy little spot modeled after a 16th Century English cottage. You can make reservations to stay here overnight, have a nice dinner by the patio fireplace, or just make a short stop into their pub. Having a beer and some fish and chips on the lawn is a great way to end a day on the trails, no matter the length of your hike.

From the Pelican Inn, you’re just a 30-minute drive back to San Francisco, where you can reengage in your busy life having after a lovely day trip away!

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