Trip Number: 12249A
Staff: Candy Barnhill
- Enjoy the fall colors of Marin County's mountains, oceans, and open
- Hike through redwood forests, along spectacular coastlines, in Point Reyes National Seashore, on Angel Island
- Admire stunning sunsets overlooking San Francisco
- Accommodations in a comfortable, private mountain lodge
- All meals except one special dinner out
- Most on-trip transportation and all entrance fees
Indulge yourself in the beautiful vistas, aromatic bouquets, and culinary delights
of Marin County, California, an area composed of five national and state parks.
Autumn offers the opportunity to enjoy comfortable temperatures while exploring
the diverse landscapes and hidden treasures in this majestic area. Join us as
we dayhike through redwood forests, along ocean-side cliffs, across sandy beaches,
and through various open-space preserves in Marin County. We'll also explore
the ambiances of several ocean-side villas, including bakeries, bookstores,
and restaurants that feature local ingredients.
Photo: Susan Elsner
To best experience the highlights of Marin County during our day hikes of 4-8
miles, we will combine a mixture of moderately paced hiking with time for taking
pictures, observing wildlife, and enjoying the captivating sights, sounds, tastes
and smells of Marin County. We'll be based in a cozy lodge nestled halfway up
Mt. Tamalpais in the beautiful coastal hills of Marin County, just north of
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. After a pleasant day on the trail, we'll
return each evening to hot showers and healthy meals, save for one afternoon
left open to explore a unique seaside villa. In order to allow you to immerse
yourself in the vibrancy of the locale and to experience the hospitality of
the local entrepreneurs, dinner on this evening will be on your own.
Marin County is an anomaly. Within a pebble's throw of the congestion and bustle
of San Francisco is a land of historic dairy farms, a 2,500-foot mountain, a
lagoon where harbor seals lounge and blue herons feast, lighthouses warn of
hidden dangers, a Zen Center is nestled among whispering pines, and dozens of
trails beckon to be explored. This trip is for people who love to hike and delight
in discovering the treasures of Marin County hidden in plain sight.
Each day will feature a day hike in a different ecological community in Marin
County. We'll spend a day at Point Reyes National Seashore, see the lighthouse,
hike along scenic cliffs while listening to the seals, and tour the Visitors
Center. We'll also explore the town of Point Reyes Station with time to enjoy
the delicacies of the local bakery and Cowgirl Creamery.
Another day we'll visit the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, visit the Marine Mammal Center, enjoy scenic vistas across the Bay, and hike for the rest of the day. Bring your binoculars and your cameras as we'll have plenty of opportunities for landscape photography.
Photo: Susan Elsner
An all-day adventure will find us hiking through stately redwoods, alongside
a stream and waterfall, and across open, rolling hills until we reach Stinson
Beach. We may wade in the ocean, hike to a nearby tidepool area, or take a short
drive to a hamlet know for its artists and resplendent photo opportunities.
On the last day of the trip, we'll tidy up the lodge, hike in the morning and
end the week with a mid-afternoon lunch. Please do not make flight reservations
until after consulting with the trip leader.
Rental vans and participant's cars will be used to transport the group to trailheads as needed. Riders should plan to reimburse participant drivers for mileage. All participants should be able and willing to hike 4-8 miles each day. The leaders will make every reasonable effort to meet the goals outlined in the trip's itinerary.
All hikes and programs are subject to change depending on a variety of factors including trail conditions, permits, weather, and abilities of the group.
San Francisco (SFO) is the nearest airport. The lodge is located about 15 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge and is accessible by public transportation from the airport. Detailed departure bulletins, including directions to our lodge and information on the use of public transportation will be provided to trip members. Participant contact information will be shared so participants may contact each other to arrange ridesharing.
Accommodations and Food
The trip begins and ends at our charming private lodge near Mill Valley in
Marin County. Perched on a scenic ridge, we'll enjoy privacy as well as proximity
to many trails. We will dine in either a glassed-in porch or outside on a large
deck. Evenings we'll gather in the living room to discuss local conservation
issues. Each sleeping area has four to six beds; bathrooms are shared. Shower
and toilet facilities are separate and have privacy doors. There is no resident
staff onsite, so all participants are required to vacate the lodge during the
Our meals will be healthy; vegetarian options are available with pre-trip notification
to the leader. As is customary on Sierra Club Outings, participants will take
turns assisting with meal preparation, kitchen chores, and clean-up.
Hiking by definition is a strenuous activity, but it is an activity that many people can do. The ability to hike vigorously four to eight miles a day, with elevation gains of 500-700 feet is essential for your enjoyment as well as that of your fellow hikers. To fully participate in this adventure, you will need to maintain a regular aerobic training program several months prior to our trip.
Equipment and Clothing
Weather is usually unpredictable in fall; dressing in layers works well. Bring
clothes for hiking and casual clothes for evenings. Well-broken-in hiking boots
are essential, be kind to you feet and ankles. Hiking poles, a warm hat, gloves,
fleece or wind-jacket, raingear, plastic lunch box and mug, sleeping bag, towels,
and personal toiletries are requisite gear. Your day pack must be large enough
to hold lunch, water bottles or hydration system and a warm, waterproof jacket.
A more detailed equipment list will be sent to all trip members.
The area surrounding San Francisco Bay contains mountain topography, wetlands,
old-growth forests, and other ecological features. Much has been lost to development,
but much has been saved -- mostly due to the heroic efforts of individuals and
local environmental organizations like the Sierra Club. Marin County is a shining
example of preservation foresight. More than 60% of its land area is protected
through public ownership: including three National Parks, six State Parks, Marin
County Open Space lands, and two areas preserved by Land Trusts. We will experience
many of these areas firsthand and learn how heroic grass roots efforts made
the difference in saving them.
All Sierra Club leaders are volunteers, dedicated to conservation and the enjoyment
of the outdoors. If at the end of our adventure, you share just a bit of our
love for the wilderness, we'll feel that we've done our job well. Our wish is
that the hikers on this outing will become strong believers in the need to protect
our wild areas, become dedicated stewards of the earth and live more greenly.
We will practice Leave No Trace; Take Only Memories principles that will minimize our impact. We will model recycling, conservation and minimal use of water and disposable products.
Since any traveling leaves a carbon footprint, check out the information that the Sierra Club offers about carbon offsets at: http://www.sierraclub.org/outings.
Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under permits from Point Reyes National Seashore and Mount Tamalpais State Park.
See the How to Apply for an Outing section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation Policy.
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
Candy Barnhill, an outdoor enthusiast and Master Gardener, enjoys volunteering as a Sierra Club Outings chef and trip leader. Smitten with traveling nationally and internationally, she enjoys being outdoors with her shelties, living healthfully, making new acquaintances and sun-soaking on any beach or trail. Candy looks forward to learning your strategies for living greener lives and sharing adventures on National Outings trips.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips