Special thanks to the Pantoll Rangers, Marin Municipal Water District, Sara
Pearson and the Mountain Play Association, Friends of Mount Tam, Elisabeth
Ptak and information in the book Mount Tamalpais: A History by Lincoln
Fairley, for the wealth of information provided about our Sleeping Lady.
When hiking Mount Tamalpais’ many paths,
keep an eye out for these five interesting sites.
1 PLANE REMAINS In November 1944, a navy
seaplane crashed near Double Bow Knot; pieces
from the wreckage can still be found at the site.
In October 1945, two navy fighter planes collided over Rock Spring; one engine is still visible in
Cataract Creek just above Ray Murphy Bridge.
2 SIT TING BULL Sitting Bull Rock (pictured),
an altar to the Sioux leader, is tucked away on
Temelpa Trail. The site includes a plaque engraved
with a speech by Sitting Bull about the dangers
white men posed to the wilderness and a weathered poster featuring his own likeness. The original
plaque was vandalized and replaced.
3 GHOST CAR The rusted body of a car has been
blending into the scenery near Willow Camp fire
road since the 1970s, if not longer. The vehicle’s
origin is unknown, but its remains are a popular
spot for the creation of mini art installations.
4 RADAR DOME What looks to be a giant golf
ball atop the mountain’s West Peak is actually a
Cold War–era air defense radar station. The site
also held radar equipment during World War II and
was one of three pieces of land leased to the War
Department by the Marin Municipal Water District
from 1942 to 1950.
5 MAIDEN LANES A nondescript cinder-block
building on West Peak was once a two-lane bowling alley, built by the air force so that some 300
servicemen stationed there (from the mid-1950s
until 1981) could unwind.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Explorers Captain Pedro Fages and
Rev. Juan Crespi originally dubbed the
mountain La Sierra de Nuestro Padre
de San Francisco, but the moniker was
later pared down to Tamalpais, a Miwok
word that roughly translates to “bay
mountain” or “coast mountain.”