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Mill Valley, California

Dad O'Rourke's Bench

One man's love of natural beauty led to the creation of this hidden granite monument. 

Originally a simple scenic lookout spot, the serene resting spot known as Dad O’Rourke’s Bench is now a permanent testament to the man who made it his goal to share the location’s singular beauty with anyone who was willing.

Sitting at the end of a casual trailhead on California’s Mount Tam is a stacked stone semi-circle with a brass plaque set into it. This spot is a scenic lookout bench created in honor of local man Richard Festus “Dad” O’Rourke, who was known to refer to the site as “the edge of the world.” As the plaque states, the bench was built by O’Rourke’s family and friends in honor of his 76th birthday in 1927. O’Rourke, a member of the Tamalpais Conservation Club who preserved the area, was known to bring people he knew to the spot to share its sites, as he considered it possibly the most beautiful spot in the world.

Know Before You Go

Park at the Rock Springs lot (at the intersection of Pantoll and Ridgecrest). Cross the road and walk uphill, heading southwest, on foot trails for 10 to 15 minutes.