Mt. Tamalpais Pantoll Loop

North Bay
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Mt. Tamalpais Pantoll Loop

Distance: 9.2km
Elevation: 441m
Time: 2-4

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The Mt Tamalpais Pantoll Loop hike takes you through old growth redwood groves, windy trails following the creek, a few mini waterfalls, many species of ferns and lots of gorgeous views. This trail often has lots of banana slugs hiding in the shade along the trail.

Getting there

Head north over the Golden Gate Bridge and take the exit for CA-1 (Shoreline Hwy) North. Follow this as it turns into the Panoramic Highway. Pantoll campground parking lot is very visible from either direction on the Panoramic Highway.


When to do

August through May

Backcountry Campsites



Parking Lot

Family friendly


Route Signage


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Detailed Description

For the Mt Tamalpais Pantoll Loop, the hike starts off in the parking lot at the ranger station, where there are bathrooms available for use. This parking area requires payment, so make sure to bring cash to pay for parking, they do not accept cards at this time.

After parking, walk up the dirt trail to the left of the ranger station. This trail heads up the hill through the campgrounds, along the way follow the signs for Stapleveldt Trail. After walking up the hill keep right at the fork and follow the wooden fence.

When you approach the bridge turn right and do not go over the bridge. At the next fork keep left to stay on the Ben Johnson Trail, do not go on the Hillside Trail.

Cross Bridge #4 and then make a left onto BootJack Trail. At this point the ascent begins and is quite steep for the next mile. The next couple miles meander along Rattlesnake Creek and have many natural staircases.

Stay on the Bootjack Trail until you reach a small grassy meadow (Van Wyck Meadow), at the meadow continue up the hill and follow signs for the Alpine Trail and keep left at any forks. Follow the Alpine Trail, which will lead you all the way back to the rangers’ station.

Insider Hints

  • Pack plenty of extra water, the last 3.2km are uphill.

  • If you time it right, you can see thousands of ladybugs (September through October most years).

  • If you do not like stairs or your joints can’t handle more than a few flights this hike is not for you.

  • Bring cash for parking.

  • Best way to do this trail is to picnic for lunch after crossing bridge #4 along the river before starting the second half of the trail.


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