Mt. Tamalpais' Land and Legends


As a resident of Marin County, Mt. Tamalpais (aka Mt. Tam or, simply, Tam) is one of my favorite neighbors. I visit all the time. I’ve hiked, biked and run its many trails and I keep coming back for more. It’s extraordinary and wonderful that most of Marin County is in some form of protected land status, with Mt. Tam at the center of it all. The mountain just looks and acts much bigger than it really is. Most of the area’s weather blows in from

the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Tam catches it all. As a result, this single mountain stimulates quite a bit of rain in the winter and frequently basks in the warm sun above the famous fog in the summer. And the mountain sustains a wide array of environments, from dark and dank redwood groves to bright and arid hillsides, sometimes just a few feet from one another. Pick a habitat that appeals to you, take a short stroll and you can probably find what you want. There’s a road to the top and another along a western ridge that looks out towards the Pt. Reyes peninsula and the sea. It’s a mountain that prizes long and gorgeous vistas. Tam’s such a physically beautiful place that it’s easy to overlook the human history that populates its slopes. But the mountain has stories to tell about the people who have come and gone over the years. I learn more every time I visit. As I mentioned, Tam is a good neighbor to have.


Since we did our story, I’m sorry to report that Carol Fowler has passed away.

However, Bill Provines turns 100 in 2008! ~ Happy Birthday Bill from all of the OpenRoad.TV crew!!

My friend, Cris Chater, is currently the executive director of Senior Access in Marin County and her film is still being sold.

The Mt. Tam Interpretive Association is raising money to build a replica of the Gravity Train as part of a museum on the mountain.


Many mountains are taller and grander, but few are more impressive and more beautiful than Marin County’s Mt. Tamalpais. And a few people still remember its unique railroading history.
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