California State Parks Offers New Reservation Drawing Pilot Program for Cabins at Mount Tamalpais State Park


California State Parks today announced a new approach to reserving the highly sought after Steep Ravine Cabins at Mount Tamalpais State Park. Using a lottery-style system to make a reservation, the department’s new pilot program aims to enhance access and equity by allowing outdoor enthusiasts to apply for free for a reservation drawing up to eight months in advance. The drawings are selected randomly and conducted seven months ahead of the reservation dates through California’s state park reservation system, ReserveCalifornia.

Just north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais State Park rises majestically from the heart of Marin County. The park offers hiking, picnicking, wildlife watching and camping opportunities. Perched on the cliffs of Mount Tamalpais, the Steep Ravine Cabins have long been a cherished destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a unique camping experience. Each cabin has a small wood stove, picnic table, sleeping platforms, and an outdoors barbecue, but no running water.

Launched in October of this year, the reservation lottery system ensures a fair and equitable distribution of reservations. Guests interested in reserving one of these iconic cabins will have the opportunity to enter the free drawing for a chance to secure their stay. This approach eliminates the rush and competition that often accompanies traditional booking processes, allowing more individuals and families to access the cabins at the park. If a visitor is awarded their reservation choice, they must claim and pay for the reservation within 30 days to keep it. Any unclaimed inventory will be released for reservation six months in advance.

Some key features of the pilot program at the Steep Ravine Cabins include:

  • Equal Opportunity: The lottery system provides an equal opportunity for anyone interested to secure a reservation, regardless of their location or previous booking history.
  • Transparency: The drawing process will be conducted, ensuring transparency and fairness in cabin allocation.
  • Accessible Information: Detailed instructions on how to participate in the drawings are available on ReserveCalifornia website, making it easy for anyone to enter.

Thus far, close to 3,400 applicants have signed up for the drawings. The pilot program is part of the department’s ongoing efforts to enhance accessibility, preserve its natural resources, and promote outdoor experiences for all.

The public can learn more about the reservation drawing pilot program by visiting the Frequently Asked Questions or

Steep Ravine Cabins, perched on the cliffs of Mount Tamalpais
Steep Ravine Cabins, perched on the cliffs of Mount Tamalpais, are now part of the lottery-style reservation.

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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.