One of Mt Tam’s many extraordinary secrets…the amphitheater!

to get to this spot for these views:

The hubs and I love to find hidden spots and treasures which seem to be in abundance in NorCal. Ask around and everyone knows about the Mountain Theater, aka Cushing Memorial on Mount Tamalpais but few suggest it to you to get out and explore. We happen to have an insider that is always excited to tell us all about these lovely places.

We opted to start our hike across the street from Mountain Home Inn (note to self, stop here for lunch after!) and used one of their many maps to head out on our journey to find this amphitheater we had heard about. Get there early so you can secure a parking spot as they are limited up there especially on a nice weekend. The parking lot has a pit potty which is nice to stop at before the climb up. From there, cross the road and head up the Hogback fire road just to the left of the fire station. Don’t forget to turn around every chance you get…the views are incredible from here!!

Hop on to the Matt Davis Trail and follow it up and through the forest of young trees, switchbacks with bridges and waterfalls, steps through Manzanitas and next thing you know you will be at the top to meet Nora Trail and West Point Inn. Here you can enjoy a breakfast, views to die for, game of horse shoes oh and the ever wonderful flushing toilets! You will also wonder how you got so high up without even feeling it! They did a wonderful job on the trails where you climb quite a bit but don’t realize it. The peek-a-boo views are sort of distracting!

Once you have had your break and are wondering how much better can this hike get…I mean it’s only been a couple miles and we’ve already had breathtaking views and experienced so much…gather yourself up and head out behind West Point Inn and stay on Nora trail to Rock Spring trail because you will soon see this:

Mt Tam Amphitheater | Smiling in Sonoma

and keep hiking up this:

Mt Tam Amphitheater | Smiling in Sonoma

to get to this spot for these views:

to reach your halfway point and reason you are on this amazing journey…the amphitheater!

This was built in the 1930’s by some amazing and ingenious people. To get these large boulders up the mountain and placed perfectly so that 85 years later people would still be enjoying this magnificent piece of Mount Tamalpais, can’t imagine the labor but am so thankful it was accomplished so beautifully! This is a great spot to stop and have your picnic and enjoy the views and sit in awe of this amazing place. Can’t wait to go and see a show there!

Once you have walked the whole amphitheater and are done exploring, head down Bootjack Trail from the bottom of the amphitheater and follow it through the campground and back on to Matt Davis Trail and back to the car. Don’t forget to peek over the Manzanita’s and enjoy the views! You will cross more bridges and one day when we have rain we might have some wonderful waterfalls to enjoy as well! This part is pretty shady so going on a hot day will be ok to do until you get closer to the parking lot where it is in full sun.

Hike details:

7 miles roundtrip from Mountain Home Inn (810 Panoramic Hwy Mill Valley, CA)

1,257 feet elevation gain

pit potties in parking lot and flushing toilets at West Point Inn (hey this is important!)

eat lunch at Mountain Home Inn!

Linked to the Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge for extraordinary…check out other fellow bloggers here!

Don't keep your thoughts to yourself! Leave a reply: