Forum Index » Post-Trip Reports » Golden Gate National Recreation Area & MT Tam (Dec 12-15, 2010)


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Scott Truong
(elf773) - M

Locale: Vancouver, BC
Golden Gate National Recreation Area & MT Tam (Dec 12-15, 2010) on 12/28/2010 18:31:19 MST Print View

A big thank you to BPL member Amy Lauterbach (drongobird). Her suggestion for an itinerary and map recommendation helped immensely.

From Vancouver, BC airport to SFO, on BART, then started walking. I can't believe how easy it was to get to the trailheads/campsites using public transit.

There is a huge outdoor store in Golden Gate Park, called the Sports Basement, about a mile away from the Golden Gate bridge/bus stop. You can't miss it, it's about 100 yards from the water. A perfect place to pick up fuel etc.

US customs was kind enough to let me through with my dehydrated stew and ground beef. Amy's organic lentil soup also dehydrates super well. So I had to buy minimal supplies.

First solo backpacking trip.

I used the "Map Adventures" maps. Excellent. Hiking/biking trails, bus routes, grocery and outfitter stores, topographical and spot elevation indicators etc.

http://www.rei.com/product/792530
http://www.rei.com/product/792529

The GGNRA (Marin County), a federal park, is just right across the Golden Gate bridge and offers free campsites. The first one I stayed in--Bicentennial--was excellent. There are two others. Then walked on to the adjoining MT. Tam State Park.

A 21 km ocean view walk (I kind of took an unexpected detour).

I stayed at their mediocre Pantoll site, which has nine different excellent trailheads from it. Water at Pantoll and Steep Ravine campsites, Bicentennial has water by Marin Visitor center nearby (1 km or so, where you pick up free permits for all 3 GGNRA campsites). You can use showers and kitchen at youth hostel across the street for $2.

Took the Steep Ravine Trail (supposedly one of the nicest in the area) south to Stinson Beach, a classic Californian beach town, and stayed at the stellar Steep Ravine/Rocky Point Campsite a couple of on trail miles away. Ate a huge lunch in town, and bought some KD at grocery store conveniently across the street from the Marin Coach (services area for $2) bus stop. A block away from the beach.

Took bus back to city, BART, airport.. home.

You can walk from Stinson beach west to Point Reyes National Seashore (another National park), or go north/stay in the Mt Tam area and explore Muir Woods.

I know my rain gear is solid. My driducks ultralite 2 and EB Downlight kept me cozy and dry. The Zpacks hexamid performed admirably in 2 all night downpours. The big mesh wall was lovely to look out of whilst warm and cozy in my quilt, listening to the waves.

Highly recommended. I got a good look at the area on the Marin coach home. MT. Tam further north from where I was definitely looked worth exploring. Not exactly rugged granite peaks, extreme wilderness/solitude, and the campsites were more like car camping sites, but it was exactly what I wanted. I'm looking forward to making greater use of my maps. I was able to fly into San Fran for $45 and the trip cost me less than what I'd spend hanging out at home.

For those who've never been, San Francisco is a beautiful city well worth a visit in itself. I'd say great for couples and going with those less initiated (running water, real toilets/bathrooms).

nt


50 yards behind my tent at the Bicentennial Campsite. 10 minutes to sunset. I wish I got there earlier to explore. You can't make it out, but a great view of Golden Gate bridge and the city in the distance. nt


On the way, looking for the coast trail from bicentennial.nt

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Beginning of "Steep Ravine Trail" to Stinson Beach and Steep Ravine Environmental Campsite.nt

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Looking down at Steep Ravine Campsite at Rocky Point. 7 tent sites ($25/nt) and some really really clean rustic cabins w/bbq and woodburning stove ($100/nt, supposedly books 6 months in advance). Prices went up because of State cutbacks. nt

Pictures don't do them justice, the site is actually quite nice.nt



The only sheltered site. I thought this site, Site 3/Starfish was the nicest. Not the most private, but large, flat and shaded/sheltered. Site 5 is the most private, but small and exposed.nt

Just behind tent. nt



Walked down Shoreline Hwy back to Stinson Beach. Late start, had to rush to catch bus. View of the town. nt

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Beach all to myself. You can imagine what it's like on a sunny clear day.nt


Back in San Fran waiting for my flight. Trails in Golden Gate Park. Spent day tooling around, walking in city making my way to Bart Station downtown. Beautiful neighborhoods.nt

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Edited by elf773 on 12/28/2010 19:37:06 MST.

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
Golden Gate National Recreation Area & MT Tam (Dec 12-15, 2010) on 12/28/2010 19:04:19 MST Print View

Scott,

Fantastic trip, and great pictures!

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
RE San Fran on 12/28/2010 23:39:30 MST Print View

Hey Dylan you up for that trip in the future, I'll head your way to check it out, let me know.

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
Golden Gate National Recreation Area & MT Tam (Dec 12-15, 2010) on 12/28/2010 23:48:39 MST Print View

Ya! It's in my backyard. I live a 20 minute walk from the bridge. I have been thinking of doing the walk that Amy Lauterbach (drongobird) did. Pretty cool, check it out.

Trip Reports ยป San Francisco to Point Reyes Loop, 5 days, May2010 -- BackpackingLight.com Forums. http://bit.ly/eLMX00

Chuck Cheese
(defrag4) - F
nice pics on 01/01/2011 16:32:55 MST Print View

great pics, welcome to the SF winter. Cold and rainy instead of the SF Summer (just cold)

That Steep Ravine campground is amazing, I lucked out and got one of the cabins right next to the ocean. The ocean-facing side of the cabin is made up of sliding glass windows. You can open the cabin up to the force and beauty of the waves. The cabins are very rustic, no electricity, no running water. Just some old wooden benches and sleeping platforms. A bit of a steep price for the accommodations but you cant beat the view.

Also the Steep Ravine trail is a great one right in the backyard of San Francisco. Did you enjoy the ladder about 1/2 way through the hike? I made the mistake of enjoying 1 to many beers down at the beach, the climb back up the mountain was rough to say the least.

Let me know next time your coming this way and I can show you a few great spots.

Scott Truong
(elf773) - M

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: James. on 01/01/2011 22:06:25 MST Print View

Thanks James, will do.

I'm definitely coming back to the area. I think I"m going to check out more of the Mount Tam area north of Pantoll and then scooch over to Point Reyes next time out.

I almost broke down and shelled out $100 for the cabin. I called the ranger and there were 2 cancellations, but they only accepted cash. Since it was just me and it stopped raining, I was happy that I camped.

Although, I did get a close look at the cabins and was surprised at how clean they were. I'm going to book one for the fall (supposedly the best time to go fog wise according to the Camp Host) and brow beat some friends into going. Nice set-up for a long weekend with pleasant company.