Who says you have to drive to Tahoe to get away? The Marin Headlands provide their own sort of seasonal inspiration along this three-part, seven-mile loop on majestic Mount Tam (pick up a Mount Tam trail map at boredfeet.com).
Part 1: Beginning halfway up the slopes of Tam’s western flank, take the Matt Davis Trail from Pantoll Ranger Station to Stinson Beach. Gobble up spectacular, bluff-side Pacific panoramas and hear caroling brooks as you whorl toward sea level.
Part 2: Land in Stinson Beach and slide into the Sand Dollar Café, where comfort and joy await. If the sun is shining, treat yourself to a San Felipe fish taco on the deck. A little cool? Head for the fire inside—New England clam chowder and a hot beverage will warm your bones.
Part 3: By way of the Dipsea and Steep Ravine trails, hike through a redwood canyon, along more singing streams and up a wooden ladder—perfect for that season’s-greetings photo op—en route to your starting point at Pantoll.