Backyard Sierra

Hike Bon Tempe Lake in Marin

With bright blue water, ospreys soaring overhead and evergreens towering all around, Bon Tempe feels like a secluded lake in the Sierra Nevada. Surprise! It’s one of the five pocket lakes on Mt. Tam’s northern flank, and the water supply for many Marin homes. You’ll never lose sight of this blue beauty as you hike the flat 3.8-mile trail that circles its shore.

Start this clockwise loop on the wide-open Sunnyside Trail with fantastic views of Mt. Tam; finish on the Shadyside Trail hiking through madrones, Douglas fir, and plenty of ferns.

Along the way, savor the Sierra Nevada-like silence—just 3 miles from the big Pacific. Let the Bon Tempe roll!

BONUS: Post-hike, treat yourself to a tasty scoop of honey vanilla lavender ice cream from Fairfax Scoop in Fairfax (63 Broadway).

Bon Tempe Lake is on Mt. Tamalpais Watershed land. There is a day use fee of $8. Here’s a map to the trailhead. Walk past the wooden gate and go left on the Bon Tempe Sunnyside Trail (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. Dog friendly!

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