Tourist Club Hike
We got to the trailhead a little after 11 and managed to find a parking spot. Luckily the trailhead isn't through the main Muir Woods entrance so the hike wasn't nearly as crowded as Muir Woods typically is. The parking lot we got to was still full but we were able to find parking along the street (FYI there are outhouses at the trail head- not the best but always good to have at the start of a hike). We started off on the Panoramic trail which probably would have had some nice views if it weren't for the fog. We weren't on that trail for very long before heading right down the Ocean View trail- again probably would have had a nice view if it weren't for the fog. The trail eventually took us into the trees and was my kind of hike- all downhill! The hike website said that we would be using bridges to walk over 'babbling streams of water cascading through the notches in the valley' ...umm fail. There was no babbling or cascading water just a bunch of mud.
The trail ended up in the actual Muir Woods park and we got to check out the GIGANTIC redwoods- trees that are 250 feet high are pretty impressive! My favorite part of the park (from the small bit we saw) was the section of the tree trunk that had dates of important events on it...that tree be real old!
We walked past the visitor center (bathrooms, cafe and gift shop inside if you need a break) and headed up the road to join up to the Dipsea trail. Uh yea that was terrible...so many stairs and super uphill. I cannot believe that people
this trail- and calling a portion of the trail 'Cardiac' makes a lot of sense. On a side note the
is awesome and I love having brunch there (which we skipped this trip). After surviving the big climb up the Dipsea trail, we got to branch off (thank god) and took the Sun trail which was way less heart attack inducing. The entire hike is really mellow and easy with the exception of the Dipsea part. After winding our way around some hills we finally made it to the Tourist club!
Its so cool! Lots of German details and I loved all the painted buildings. They have a huge lower deck (also serves as a dance floor) and a bunch of balconies at different levels along Mount Tam. The land was purchased by the Nature Friends Tourist Club in 1912. The Golden Gate bridge wasn't built for another 25 years or so which meant the original members spent hours on ferries, horseback or hiking just to get to this spot.
The club is only open occasionally to guests (otherwise you have to be a member) and this weekend it opened at 1pm for guests. By the time we got there at 1:20 it was PACKED. There was no place to sit down and the line for beer was about 20 mins. My dad and brother didn't want to wait for beer but I managed to convince them it would be worth it- by the time we got to the front of the line they were on board.
We got a pitcher of the pilsner they had on tap and hung out along a railing enjoying the view and the Safeway sandwiches we picked up in Mill Valley. They don't really serve food (besides meat sticks- gag) at the Tourist club so some groups brought in some pretty extensive and impressive picnics. The tourist club asks you to take all your trash with you so keep that in mind when planning your trip. They have a ton of boardgames so people were settling in for a long afternoon of drinking. We had dinner plans in the city so we headed out after a pitcher and on the way out saw a HUGE line of people waiting to get in (and this was only around 2:15). There is a note that they don't accept groups of 7 or larger and this is why. As long as you get in before they reach capacity there isn't an issue but good luck getting in after that. Would highly recommend getting there early if you end up going.
After we left, we picked up the Redwoods trail that took us back to the Panoramic trail which lead us back to the car. Fun hike and would definitely do it again.