Launched in 2014 by longtime local resident Debra Schwartz, hiking tour operator explores the geology, local Native American history and flora and fauna of the wilderness around us.

In the more than three decades since Blithedale Canyon resident Debra Schwartz moved to the Bay Area, her sense of wonder about Mount Tamalpais – particularly its geology, its Native American history and its flora and fauna – has never waned.

After getting her degree in Native American Studies at the University of California-Berkeley two years ago, Schwartz decided to spread that sense of wonder to others, and earlier this year, she formalized that move in the form of Tam Hiking Tours, a new business in town that she says “is all about showcasing the mountain and showcasing Mill Valley.”

“I like to think of Mill Valley as a destination unto itself,” Schwartz says. “This is the community where I live and where I always want to be. I want to promote Mill Valley. When people get done with a hike with me, they’ll want to go get some ice cream, have a beer or go see a show. We’ve got everything here.”

Tam Hiking Tours leads weekly walks ranging from two to seven miles on some of Tam’s best trails, including Blithedale Ridge and Elinor Ridge Fire Road. She also sets up personalized tours based on individual or group needs and interests.

Each group meets up at Illumigarden near City Hall and the Sweetwater Music Hall, with Schwartz often arranging for boxed lunches from her favorite local restaurants.

Schwartz, who grew up in Fresno and spent much of her childhood visiting Yosemite National Park, says the key distinctive element of her operation is its focus on the fascinating geology and vast Native American history of Mount Tam and the surrounding region.

“In my travels in the world I have yet to find anything like this place, and I’m delighted to share it with others,” she says. 

The 411: Click here for more info on Tam Hiking Tours. And check out their calendar of hikes here.

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