Frequently Asked Questions about Mt Tam
Q: When is Mt Tam open?
A: Mt Tamalpais State Park is open seven days a week. Hours vary but are roughly sunrise (but not before 7:00 am) to sunset. The park is closed after sunset and no permission is given for recreational use (Hikes) once the park is closed EXCEPT for the organized DPR/MTIA scheduled night hike(s). Please note that various parts of Mt Tam are run by different organizations which have their own rules and regulations.
However: A red-flag alert closes the upper mountain due to fire danger. The official stance of the State Park is:
When the Marin County Fire Department determines that the upper mountain is to be closed due to fire danger, state parks lands ARE closed to the public - for public safety.
During fire season, the number to call to see if Mt Tam is closed due to fire danger is 415-499-7191. It’s also possible for portions of Mt Tam to be closed due to tree falls and snow(!)
Q: How do I get to Mt Tam? How do I get to trailheads there?
A: Check the Directions page. It includes directions and driving times to the various trailheads. Remember, various parts of Mt Tam are run by different organizations and only those trailheads in the State Park are listed here.
Q: Is there mass transit to Mt Tam?
A: Yes. For a schedule, contact the West Marin Stage Coach at 415-526-3239 or Marin Transit
Q: Do I need to pay a fee to use Mt Tam?
A: You may hike on Tam for free. There is no entrance fee to Mt Tam, though some of the trailheads require a parking fee. The MTIA sponsored hikes and the Astronomy Program are free. Other activities, such as camping, may require a fee.
Q: What can you tell me about the MTIA hiking schedule?
A: While you are not required to have a guide on Mt Tam, the MTIA offers free hikes Saturdays and Sundays. During summer months there are also hikes Wednesday and Saturday evenings. These hikes are an excellent way to become familiar with the mountain. No reservations are required.
Q: Have you any suggestions for hikes?
A: We have briefly described several in the Hiking section. Feel free to hike other trails, of course.
Q: Where can I get a map of Mt Tam?
A: The kiosk at Pantoll and the Visitor Center at East Peak sell maps. . Local outdoor and book stores sell them too.
Q: What’s the State Park policy regarding dogs?
A: Dogs are not allowed on State Park property except for the Pantoll Campsite and the Alice Eastwood Road. They are allowed in the Marin Municipal Water District, but must be on leash at all times.
Q: Are bikes allowed on Tam?
A: While biking is a very popular activity on Mt Tamalpais, within the Mt Tamalpais State Park itself biking is limited to the roads, the fire roads, and the Coast View Trail, which is a multi-use trail. Bicycling is prohibited on all other trails in the State Park. There are many more fire roads on which bicycling is permitted in adjacent lands maintained by the Marin Municipal Water District and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Q: I want to bring a large group to the State Park. Is there anything I need to know?
A: The State Park asks large groups to form up into smaller groups and depart with 15 to 20 minutes between each group. This allows for a much better trail experience for all parties on the trail. Also, departing from Rock Spring parking lot will serve everyone better too. It would be best not to over run the Pantoll parking area with a large group on a weekend day.
If you would like a guide, there are MTIA hike leaders who are available for weekdays as well as weekends. We offer private guided hikes for any level of hiking group. We request a donation to MTIA of $150 for any hike. The donations to MTIA go directly back to Mt. Tam in the form of ranger support and public activities. We have no overhead costs in our association. The money goes to whatever programs that Ryen Goering, our Supervisory Ranger asks for. We are a 501-C3 organization, so your donations are tax deductible.
Q: What about wheelchair access on Mt Tam?
A: The Verna Dunshee trail (paved) at East Peak and the Old Mine trail (packed dirt) at Pantoll are accessible by wheelchair.
The Bootjack, Pantoll, and East Peak picnic areas all have chair accessible facilities, i.e. parking, restrooms, and picnic sites. Alice Eastwood campground and Pantoll campground have ADA access. The Frank Valley Horse Camp is accessible and has an accessible ramp to assist riders from a chair to a horse with additional assistance from the chair users party.
Q: What about camping on Mt Tam?
A: Visit our camping page. There are also camp sites at Samuel P Taylor State Park. For backpacking, check out the Pt Reyes National Seashore.
Q: What cell phone access is there on Mt Tam?
A: It’s variable, depending on your carrier and where you are on the mountain.
Q: What about WiFi access on Mt Tam?
A: No longer available.
Q: Where’s a good spot to propose marriage on Mt Tam.
A: O’Rourke’s Bench, which is a few minutes walk southeast of the Rock Spring parking lot. There’s no signage for the trail so you should preview it.