The Hike 

Need to check the weather before we start?
Here is Intellicast's SFO Weather forecast page.

Check our realtime weather resources

For live images:

  • The Exploratorium in S.F. has a great panorama camera view (click the #1 to see what it is like in the Marin Headlands).
  • Our hike up Ring Mountain begins on the shores of the San Francisco Bay at the mountain's base. 

    In Triangle Marsh the sticky gum plant, salt grass, salty pickle weed, and cordgrass reach into the bay's waters, and the muddy fill is like solidified jello underfoot.

    Crossing the bayside road, we approach the entrance to the preserve (note the signs have changed because the property has been acquired by Marin Open Space) and work our way up the open, grassy, but rock punctuated and irregular slopes.  If your trip is taking place during the summer, the path itself tells a story of the composition of the soil for it will have extensive cracks in it produced from the shrinking and swelliing clays found in these lower slopes. We may well cross over one of the seasonal streams running from bunches of bay and live oak trees clustered along water courses or around the large rock outcroppings. Along one of these water courses, native Americans ground acorns in bedrock mortars we can still see carved in the blueschist metamorphic rocks. Midway up the slope we get nice views of the other, serpentine capped summit of the mountain. As we approach the saddle between the two summits, turning and looking back down the valley we have traveled, we get a good view of the mountain's character. Depending on the time of year, we might be fortunate enough to be treated to a varied, profuse wild flower display.

    The views throughout the hike are well worth the climb, and, at the crest, there are spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay area to the north, east and south.

    Looking North (252K)
    Looking East (174K)
    Looking South  (215K)
    San Francisco is laid out in full panorama to the south.  The towers of the Golden Gate Bridge are visible, sometimes only peeking through fog rolling in through the Golden Gate.

    East, beyond the bay, lie the East Bay's hills, and Mt. Diablo, the anchor for map-making in California, is visible in the distance.

    To the north lie small remnants of San Francisco Bay's natural salt marshes in the Ross Valley (and one human-restored one); the scars of an old quarry, now converted to a shopping center and housing development, (where "Dirty Harry" "did in" the bad guy); and another reminder of that side of the human spirit, the imposing California State Prison, San Quentin.

    Off to the west (photo below, 98K), Marin County's Mount Tamalpais dominates the view.


    Next: Who preserved Ring Mountain?

    Other Resources: map and hiking information

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