It's steep, but short, only about a half mile. Hiking poles are recommended.
Time To Complete
This is a short fire road with direct access to old Railroad Grade. You might need to stop and catch your breath, otherwise it should't take you long to ascend.
Spring, Summer, and Fall
If it's a rainy winter, it might be a treacherous muddy slope. Otherwise, it's enjoyable in all seasons.
On Leash Only
A great short cut to West Point Inn or East Peak on Mt. Tamalpais. Hogback is an intense trail run or burner uphill hike. It's a wide fire road welcoming dogs, but no other animals or bikers. Completely exposed, on a sunny day the trail gets hot and dry, offering rewarding panoramic views at the top. If you're with kids, choose a different trail, all lead up to the summit at East Peak.
What Makes It Great
Hogback is perfect for those looking for a more difficult hike on Mt. Tam. The other trails casually meander and slowly incline to the top, and Hogback is steep but quick. The gravel is loose making descending just as hard.
The views are unlike any other-- sweeping landscapes of the valley below, faraway sights of the Pacific and the legendary Bay Area of San Francisco. Watch as fog slowly craws through the Redwood forest from the west, and smell deciduous Douglas Firs after a misty rain. From the ridge on Mt. Tam, the views are bested only by the views from the summit.
Who is Going to Love It
If you're looking for a sunny side steep view, Hogback is perfect. It's often looked over because the trailhead is behind the Throckmorton Ridge Fire Department. Fit hikers looking for a challenge love Hogback for a quick workout along the mountain's ridge. Despite the neighboring Mill Valley community, it feels like you're in the backcountry, overlooking the entire Bay Area.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
If you get there early enough, park your car across from the Mountain Home Inn parking lot. The Inn has great breakfast, lunch and coffee, with killer outdoor deck seating overlooking the Bay.
Cross the street and follow signs for Gravity Car Grade/Hogback. Look for the fire road behind the fire station and follow it uphill to the water reservoir. Continue uphill for about a half mile to Rail Road Grade.
Dogs are allowed, but keep them on leash as citations are sometimes dished out.