This is a moderate hike with approximately 1000 feet
elevation gain and approximately 8 miles round trip. Hiking time should be
approximately 4 hours plus some time for some lunch on top. Please wear sturdy
hiking shoes and bring two quarts of water, snacks, lunch, and warm clothes (in
case it gets cold) in a small backpack.
We will start at the Rock Springs Picnic Area at the
East Ridgecrest Blvd.
From there we will hike on the Rock Springs Trail to the Mountain Theater and
to the West Point Inn. From there we take the Railroad Trail and then the Fern
Creek Trail to the
parking lot. Finally, we take the trail to the top.
We will meet to carpool at the Safeway at Market and Church in the Castro in San Francisco
on Saturday, June 3rd at 9 AM. We can meet others at the trailhead
at 10 AM.
, follow Highway 101 north across the
and proceed about four miles north to the state highway 1 exit to
. Follow state highway 1 west past Mill Valley, then uphill three or four miles
until you reach the Panoramic Highway, which splits off to the right. Follow the
for about five and a half miles to Pan Toll (go straight at the four-way
intersection a mile along the
Panoramic Highway). At five miles you will pass Bootjack picnic area, and will be getting near to
Pan Toll. At Pan Toll, turn right uphill toward the summit. Wind along the
hillside for about a mile to where the West Ridge road turns off to the left.
The gravel parking area at Rock Spring is right here, and obvious.
Boulevard and follow the signs east and then north to Mountain Theater. The
theater features 3500 rock seats and is used for weddings and outdoor plays.
Rock Springs Trail is spent in comfortable shade, bordered by ferns and bay
laurel and crossing three bridges. Approach Westpoint Inn at 4.5 miles, a
stately stone lodge tucked in the forest and accentuated by views of the
in the background. Find the signed Old Railroad Grade Fire Road Trail near this
architecturally significant but long-deserted structure and resume climbing.
Pass colonies of orange bush monkeyflower and then pause at a sign noting
Westpoint Inn where a grand Douglas fir foregrounds
, and skyscrapers. The old dirt road stays mostly level amid chaparral until it
reaches the visitor center. Several oak types and some Douglas fir adorn the
vistas now sweeping westward to the ocean. Reach the summit parking lot, and
then gain 400 feet in elevation along the rocky trail to
Sit amongst the numerous boulder clusters and admire well-deserved views.
The chaotic jumble atop
was slowly created when the westward-moving North American plate clashed with
the eastward- moving Farallon plate. Most of the rocks here consist of
serpentine, sandstone radiolarian chert, and quartz.