Title: Mount Tamalpais State Park
Preparation: Mount Tamalpais State Park address: 801 Panoramic Highway, Mill Valley, CA 94941 It takes about 1.5 hour or so to drive there if you live in the bay area. The route goes through Sausalito. There are many trails in the park and also uneven rocky roads to the East Peak, the highest point 2571 ft, 784 meter. We visited East Peak, at Fire Lookout. Suggestions: 1. Wear sports shoes because there is a 0.7 mile rough rocky path to the East Peak, around the Fire Lookout, at the highest point. 2. Be careful to watch out if you have very young age kids and elders. 3. Plan 2 - 3 hours there for the East Peak and the surrounding area. 4. It's better to see the wonderful view in the sunshine. So try to schedule your time there before sunset. 5. For Parking: There are fee parking areas and also some free spots near the road. We paid $8 self registration parking fee. There is no staff working in the parking station, instead you need to fill out the self registration form. One half of the form will be put in your car, the other half with the small envelop you can put cash or check in and then you can drop it in a box. It does not accept credit card.
General opinion: It's worth to spend your time there. If you have a family and would like to go, it is OK to go there. The driving is smooth. although there are some winding road sections along the way.
Attractions and activities: 1. Hiking on many different trails. 2. East Peak, around the fire look out, has spectacular view. You can park your car in the parking lot, and then you can walk 0.7 miles to the peak. From the peak, you can see San Francisco, Golden Gate bridge, the other two bridges and all the islands in the bay area. 3. Prepare to experience some sort of real rock climbing when you go to the east peak. 4. Camp sites also available. Remember to get one free map when you arrived in the visitor center. if you are lucky, you may see some rangers and then you can ask them questions; In the map, there are directions you can follow to drive to the east peak. We drive to a visitor center and then drive through the Pantoll Rd to get to the highest point, East Peak.
Dining: It's a mountain and no food available. I see some vendor machines around the Parking area. There are restrooms available.
Things I wish I had known before: I wish we could spend more time there and hiking for a while. If you could, go there early and have a few hours to explore there.