Dad O’Rourke’s Bench is one of the best places to watch sunset or sunrise in the Bay Area. In fact, it is one of the best viewpoints at any point in the day. It is located in Mount Tamalpais State Park about 0.3 miles away from the Rock Springs parking area and 0.3 miles away from another small parking area along Bolinas Ridge Road. The entire ridgeline is open terrain with great views and numerous fantastic perches. However, the bench itself is hidden below a patch of trees, I assume to provide some shelter from the winds that frequent this otherwise exposed area. It is a fairly large bench built into a rock using rocks.
From the bench, the hills of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area at your feet. City views include the skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, and Oakland. Further out, the Santa Cruz Mountains and Diablo Range can be seen with Mount Diablo rising above everything. On the other side, the slope falls precipitously down to the Pacific Ocean and Stinson Beach nearly 2,000 feet below. The waves look like ripples from this high perch and extend as far as the eye can see. On a clear day the Farallon Islands can be spotted about 25 miles away. On this day, it was a bit windy and cold but we persisted to watch a great sunset as the sun poked through the cloud layers.
Many more photos after the jump!