We didn’t really go hiking this weekend. We went tourist-hiking. By which we mean we drove to the East Peak of Mt. Tam, then took a leisurely stroll up the quarter-mile Plank Walk trail to the summit.

We’ve hiked on Mt. Tam many times, but this is the first time we’ve ever driven to the top of East Peak. The verdict: hiking is better than driving. More time to enjoy the scenery and less queasiness from the super-windy road.

But this weekend we have family in town, and this was just one stop on a grand circle tour of our favorite Marin spots, so we did the tourist thing.

The views from the top of Mt. Tam are often incomparable, and it was a clear, sunny afternoon. Lots of people, as usual, but no wailing toddlers like we had to contend with the last time we were up at the top of East Peak.

For those who are unfamiliar, the Plank Walk trail starts out as a board-covered, gradual uphill slope (thus the name). The slope steepens, then becomes stairs before you lose the boards altogether and are left with a rocky, twisting trail that arcs back and forth up to the fire tower at the peak.

We love climbing on and over rocks (maybe the photos gave it away…), so we really enjoy this quick little trail.

Know what else we love? Seeing and pointing out other places we’ve hiked and saying: “We’ve been there on our feet!” (Someone we know likes to always point out places he’s been on his bike, and we kinda co-opted and modified his saying.)

We had lovely views of Alpine Lake (above) from the trail, and we discovered that there’s a big old golf course just above Alpine Lake. Who knew?

We definitely want to do more exploring of the foothills around Alpine Lake, but that’s a hike for another day.

For now, we’re off to try and figure out how to keep our visiting family happy and occupied tomorrow. Probably something not too walking intensive, though: We think we wore them out with how quickly we hopped up the Plank Walk trail this afternoon…