Having the ability to call Marin County home is one of those things that just about everyone would take pride in. Whether it’s the fact that Marin County is consistently ranked as one of the top five healthiest counties in America or perhaps it’s the unobstructed unique views and close proximity to all that San Francisco has to offer, there is a lot to love about this place. Who knows, maybe it’s the world-dining scene? We’ve even heard that it might be because we have arguably the best public schools in the country, but hey -- we’ll stop the humblebragging now!
At the end of the day, we’re just proud to speak highly of Marin County because of all the great things that it offers us in return. From San Rafael to Tamales or Tiburon to Sleepy Hollow, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t feel the same way.
While life in Marin includes so many great benefits such as the ones we mentioned above, unless you live here, you may not know that it is also home to some of the best outdoor activities in the country and, more specifically, the best hiking trails in all of California.
Today, we’ll be exploring these trails and sharing with you the top 10 hikes in all of Marin County!
- BON TEMPE LAKE
If you’re looking for a shorter hike that can also serve as an enjoyable leisure walk, look no further than the 2.5-mile long Bon Tempe Lake Loop. Perhaps the best trail for beginners in all of Marin County, if you like to take things slow, observe the wildlife, and take in breathtaking views, Bon Tempe Lake is the perfect hiking trail to stop and smell the roses.
- MOUNT TAMALPAIS
There’s no going wrong with heading to Mount Tamalpais for a fun but challenging hike to start off your Saturday morning. Standing at 2,571 feet tall, Mount Tamalpais is the highest point in all of Marin County and gives you an unbelievable view of the entire Bay Area. With just over 6,000 acres of redwood groves, mesmerizing waterfalls, and unimaginable views of the Pacific Ocean, Mount Tamalpais offers a lot more than just hiking trails. But, if hiking is what you’re here to do, then the 60 miles of classic hiking trails will surely do the trick. If you’re looking to take a scenic route that will also be an excruciating workout, we suggest starting at the Matt Davis Trail before switching onto the Steep Ravine, which will eventually take you to Dipsea trail in a full loop. For a more relaxed walk, take the Verna Dunshee trail for the opportunity to look over all of Marin and San Francisco.
- PHOENIX LAKE
If you find yourself at Phoenix Lake, take the Gertrude-Ord Trail, an extremely popular trail that’s perfect for people of all skill levels. Enjoy the beautiful lake that’s dog-friendly and open all year long. Located just outside Ross, Phoenix Lake is a go-to destination for families to enjoy California outdoors.
- POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE
Point Reyes National Seashore is the perfect destination for anyone who fancies themselves as a hiking enthusiast! The trails at Point Reyes cover over 150 miles, so it’ll undoubtedly take you a few days to truly see it all. Point Reyes highlights all of the different gorgeous scenery that is found throughout Northern California with rolling hills, enchanting forests, dramatic oceanside cliffs, and, of course, magnificent views of the Pacific Coast. If you’re looking for a short walk to start your morning, the half-mile long Earthquake Trail is a refreshing way to start your day. Now, if you’re looking for a much longer trail, look no further than the Woodward Valley loop. It may be 13-miles of demanding trails, but trust us, it’s well worth it!
- NICK’S COVE - TOMALES BAY
Nick’s Cove is the ideal place for anyone hoping to share a moment observing all of the incredible wildlife that calls Marin County home. We highly recommend bringing binoculars so that you can take a closer look at the finches, turtles, quails, and other incredible animals that you’ll surely see along the way.
- TENNESSEE VALLEY TRAILHEAD
The Tennesee Valley Trail is the perfect activity for families or the casual hiker who wants to head down to the beach. Coming in at just under 3.5-miles roundtrip, the hike takes you past shrublands, wetlands, and an amazing lake before heading down to the beach, where you’ll find plenty of people laid out relaxing or even enjoying a picnic.
- ALAMERE FALLS
The trails at Alamere Falls are perhaps the most challenging on this list and are certainly not the faint of heart. The 8.5-mile hike takes you to an enchanting 40-foot waterfall that falls straight into the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, expect to make your way through a series of different terrain, including forests and thick shrubbery. While the Palomarin Trailhead will be for the more advanced hikers looking for a tough challenge, the Wildcat Camp Trail offers a more beginner-friendly option to get to the scenic falls.
- RING MOUNTAIN
The Ring Mountain Reserve has a number of different trails that will lead you to a peak where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the Bay Area. We recommend taking the 1.7-mile long Phyllis Ellman Loop Trail, which is a geologist’s dream with slopes that feature a number of different rare minerals, stones, and crystals along the way.
- TOMALES POINT - TULE ELK RESERVE
Tomales Point is, without a doubt, one of the best and most popular hikes in the entire Bay Area. From hiking trails for all levels, beautiful coastline views, wildlife, to historical sites, the hike has everything you could ever for in a trail. If you’re a more active hiker, Tamales Point is one of those trails that you absolutely must cross of your bucket list. At approximately 10-miles roundtrip, this is the hike that you should line up for your next weekend activity where you have ample time to enjoy all that it has to offer!
- ABBOTTS LAGOON
Last but certainly not least, Abbotts Lagoon is a laidback hike located in Point Reyes, just 50-miles north of San Francisco that’s perfect for an outing with your family. Although the trail is only about 2.3 miles long, taking the relaxing sandy path to Abbotts Lagoon is more than worth it.