Mount Tamalpais: The Bay Area's Trail Running Mecca

Testing the Lycan Mountain Running Shoe on Mt. Tam’s varied flanks.

As a recent transplant to Berkeley, CA from Boulder, CO, assimilation to life in a big city is progressing more quickly than I ever imagined. This is by far the most densely populated area I’ve ever lived in and the constant hustle and bustle of things is quickly becoming my new norm. But, the aspect of Boulder I miss the most (other than my close group of friends) is Boulder’s proximity to mountains.

Here in the Bay Area, Mount Tamalpais (“Mt. Tam”)— towering 2,571 feet above the Pacific Ocean and the tallest peak in Marin County— is blanketed with over 100 miles of trails for hiking, trail running, and otherwise escaping the concrete jungle. I figured the 8.7 mile out and back trail that climbs 2,446 vertical feet from Muir Woods National Monument to the summit of Mt Tam’s East Peak would be a fun mission to test La Sportiva’s new Lycan Mountain Running Shoe.

The first mile and change served as an almost euphoric warm up as I meandered through the old-growth redwoods on Mt. Tam’s southeast flank. I immediately noticed the Lycan’s weightlessness with each stride and was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and supportive the fit was right out of the box. As the pitch steepened and the humidity began to take its toll, the ultra-breathable mesh upper proved invaluable and kept my unusually sweaty feet from getting clammy. Once I breached timberline, the breathtaking views of the entire Bay Area became fairly distracting, making it hard to focus on properly landing one foot in front of the other.

I was amazed at how the sticky rubber on the sole allowed for precise shifts in weight as I bounded from rock to rock on the final .3 mile push up the Plank Walk Trail to the summit. The view from the summit was beautiful, but what goes up must come down. On the descent, the Lycan’s rock guard outsole with Impact Brake System offered some much-needed relief as I hammered my way back down to the car.

The varied terrain and drastic vertical relief of this route was a proper testing venue to really feel out this shoe. I recommend both the trail and the shoe. The trail also made me hungry. A heaping plate of Puerto Rican comfort food at Sol Food in San Rafael on the way back home was the tastiest, but maybe slightly counterproductive, end to a strenuous but pleasurable day in my new backyard. 

Lycan Mountain Running Shoe retails for $115.00



Nat Houston is an outdoor loving, maple syrup slurping, East Coast native who grew up skiing at Bromley Mountain just outside his hometown of Landgrove, Vermont. After graduating from the University of Colorado in 2014, he stuck around Boulder for business and pleasure, working for companies like Freeskier Magazine and Dynafit, but mostly skiing and climbing in the vast mountains of the American West. Today, he lives in Berkeley, CA so he can explore the mountains of California and the Pacific Northwest, sample the local taco offerings, and write gear reviews for Warren Miller Entertainment.