Dad O’Roarke’s Bench

Length 0.6 miles • Climbing 30 feet
California > > Muir Woods and Mt Tam

View east from Dad O’Roarke’s bench

More of a brief stroll than a hike, this short trail offers some of the best ocean vistas on Mount Tamalpais. Dad O’Roarke’s bench is a stone structure in the shade of a large tree, with a spectacular view of the glittering Pacific Ocean, the Marin Headlands, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Bay. In the summertime the view may be hidden by a massive fog bank below you, which can also be pretty impressive.

View south from Dad O’Roarke’s bench

Hike description

Here’s the trailhead location in Google Maps and Google Street View.

Dad O’Roarke’s bench can be reached from the large Rock Spring parking lot, but for a more scenic walk, drive a half-mile west on Ridgecrest Blvd to the first pullout. An unmarked trail leads past a picnic area and climbs to a little tree-capped knoll that used to be a hang glider launching point. Before you get there, though, the trail reaches a saddle between two hills. At this point a clearly-visible, well-worn trail branches off to the left. The trail descends a little at first, but overall is roughly level. Follow this trail to another tree-capped knoll, where Dad O’Roarke’s bench can be found.

The hillside below the bench is crisscrossed by a network of unofficial trails, many of which lead to picnic spots. This is a very popular area, and on any nice weekend lots of people will be walking around on these trails.

Summer fog, Dad O’Roarke’s bench



© 2006, 2016, 2022 David Baselt