The Pancake Hike

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Pancakes and spaghetti: the starchy workhorses of the small town fundraiser. Yet at the West Point Inn in Marin County, pancakes are merely a prop in a grander production. Built in 1904, this historic outpost sits nestled in the woods of Mt. Tamalpais, accessible only by trail. Perched high atop the western slope of the mountain, it offers a sunny view of the thick blanket of fog that conceals one chilly little city by the bay.


On a recent trip, we snapped a photo leaving San Francisco…


…and another one driving up Mt. Tam shortly after.



We know what you’re thinking: when are the pancakes coming? One Sunday a month, from May through October, the good folks at West Point Inn sling pancakes, sausages and melon for adoring masses of hikers and their little hikelings. Ten bucks gets you 3 pancakes, 2 sausages, 1 coffee and a hefty dollop of endorphins. It’s a good old fashioned chow-down that benefits the venerable, volunteer-run Inn.


The food is fine (better than it looks in our photo). Sausages do most of what sausages should. Pancakes come adorned with mini bullions of Darigold (which are fun to stack and build into a fantasy Mayan city of gold) and accompanied by a Costco jug of take that, Marin high-fructose Log Cabin. The ambitious bring real maple syrup, fresh strawberries, and la-di-da faces.

But it’s really about the experience. Everything tastes great in a beautiful, natural setting with a spectacular view. And because it’s only accessible by foot or bike, getting there is half the fun. We probably can’t say this, but Mt. Tam is the cake and pancakes are the eat-it-too. Just get there early. Crowds can turn this fanciful IHOP in the sky into an REI-attired cluster cuss.


A schedule of upcoming pancake breakfasts can be found here.

Numerous trails lead to West Point Inn. We like the Rock Springs Trail which begins at the Mountain Play ampitheatre. It’s level, scenic, offers a mix of sun and shade, and god bless ‘em, no bikes. It takes about 45 minutes. A detailed list of all routes can be found here.

West Point Inn
View from West Point Inn
Trail Post at West Point Inn

Dig into more delicious pictures of a day at the West Point Inn here.

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