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.
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.
© 2006, 2016, 2022 David Baselt