Mount Tam gets a lot of foot traffic, but its more subdued northern flank sees fewer people—and has everything you’d want for a bountiful hike: a large, glowing reservoir, green hills, a banner view of Tam’s east peak, Sierra Nevada–like silence…Ready already?! This 3.8-mile clockwise loop at Bon Tempe Lake begins on the wide-open Sunnyside Trail, slipping right alongside the shoreline, which has numerous spots for kicking back and taking in a serene scene: the sun’s rays skim across the water giving it a glisten, and the views of Tam are outstanding. The only sounds you’re likely to hear are ducks and the occasional cast of a fishing line. Finish on the Shadyside Trail, hiking through madrones, Douglas fir, and plenty of ferns. Tam good time!
BEER BONUS: Locally owned—and literally green certified—Iron Springs Pub & Brewery handcrafts their brews on-site. Grab a seat at the long wooden bar, where a vintage 1941 Schwinn Cruiser hangs from the ceiling, and pair the award-winning Golden/Blonde Ale with sautéed seafood tacos.
Bon Tempe Lake is on Mount Tamalpais Watershed land and is the water supply for Marin homes. There is a day-use fee. Directions to the park and a map. Make your first right after the entrance toward Bon Tempe. Drive 0.5 mile and park. Walk past the wooden gate and go left on the Bon Tempe Sunnyside Trail (to the right is the Shadyside Trail). When you get to the road, cross it and follow the wooden stairs and trail to the right. Continue right at the fork after 100 feet. When you reach the bathrooms, go up and behind them. Follow trail signs to make a big loop around the lake (map). Bon Tempe Lake is dog-friendly. The patio at Iron Springs Pub & Brewery is also dog-friendly.