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From the Matt Davis which quickly opens up to beautiful, rolling hills overlooking the Pacific into switchbacking down through evergreen forests to the open coastal trail of the Dipsea to a gorgeous, shaded Redwood forest along Webb Creek on the Steep Ravine, this hike has it all.

A couple short-but-tight street walks/crossings (from Pantoll across to Matt Davis and in town to Dipsea trailhead) so beware of traffic.

We parked at the Pantoll station and hiked Steep Ravine to Dipsea. Lunch at Stinson. Back up Matt Davis. Did not care for Matt Davis. A lot of poison oak and not nearly as pretty as Steep Ravine/Dipsea. Quite the climb on a warm late afternoon as well. Good workout dripping sweat the first couple miles on Matt Davis though so...there's that. We hiked Friday, July 20th. Trails weren't terribly crowded. We passed about five or six groups and a couple of solo hikers on the way down. One runner. A few solo hikers coming down Matt Davis while we climbed up.

Started at 9am & finished a little passed noon, totaling 7.5 miles. Started at Dipsea & veered further by hiking the borders of the ocean coast, then crossed over to the Matt Trail. The incline at the beginning was definitely a burn, but a great workout. It was hot, but cooled down in the shaded areas on Matt Trail. Very little water in the creeks. No waterfall. There is a restroom at the parking lot between the 2 trails. Trails were very clean. Views were beautiful. Saw lots of blue dragonflies on the Matt Trail. Would love to do this hike again in the spring or after a good rain.

Amazing views! It took us 4 hours with 4 kids (5 years old - 10). Little dusty during August. Recommend to start with with the harder trail, the Dipsea Trail.

Great hike! Did it clockwise, and It was nice walking down with the view in the end. However I think I would have preferred the other direction. On the top of the open grassland take some of the smaller trails to get further up on the boulders visible from the trail. Amazing view over the beach, SF skyline and on clear days you can see the entire Bay Area!

hiking
2 days ago

Is only 4 miles hike, but steep. Very nice. Will be back springtime when the falls are fuller.

One of the great California hikes. Mostly shady. Wide variety of bio communities.

Fun trail. Didn’t have my hiking boots, so bouldering was difficult. Areas of the trail require you to climb over rocks so be prepared.

Also parking in the parking lot is $8 cash. You can park on the side of the road but be warned that there is a ditch and I saw a car get stuck. Not hard to park, just be safe!

Just as all the other reviews have said, this is a beautiful hike with a lot of diverse scenery! Whether you start with Dipsea (as we did) or with Matt Davis, the ascent is mostly in the shade, which is nice. The trailhead on the map looks like it's on the same side of Shoreline Highway as Stinson Beach, but it is actually across the street and you will see where the steps immediately start ascending (if you're starting with Dipsea Trail, that is).

Did counterclockwise. Highlight is the alpine lake. Pristine and not even a single soul nearby as I hiked this in the evening. I had a constant fear of mountain lion as there is a sign which said "avoid hiking alone". Nevertheless, found lot of people near cataract falls. Moderate hike.

Great trail, long but not too hard for us, we went anti-clockwise.There is not too much water at the fall but the lake is nice to have a meal break. There are several restrooms at picnic area along on the trail. We started at 9 am and completed at 1:30 pm. Dog, Cat, Crocodile friendly, not so much bugs or mosquitoes. Go early and park your car under big tree. I am kidding about the crocodile anyway.

hiking
9 days ago

This is a good trail when you just want to get some distance in. It’s not too challenging and has enough shade to make it doable on an 80 degree afternoon.
The down side is not much scenic variety - mostly laurel and eucalyptus forests.. I like something a little more dramatic or varied but still totally fine and nice to get a longer hike without a long drive..
I’m not the fastest hiker and this took me pretty much exactly 3 hours.

Did the Whitmore Gulch - Purisma - Craig Bitten. A total of 9.2 miles.
I would rate this Moderate

Loved the scenery! I would highly suggest bringing a full CamelBak and wearing very comfortably padded trail shoes. This was a very challenging incline and I regretted not bringing my trekking poles. The decent (going clockwise) was very hard on my toes. For dog people, bring a separate supply of water and a collapsible bowl. My in-shape, 28 lb dog drank down two water bottles easily. Eventually I had to pour from my own water supply but we had a blast! Also, good luck with parking! PS - parking tickets are $63

5 Stars for it’s difficulty yet manageable to complete. Incredible workout especially it’s long inclines....keeps your heart rate elevated.

Beautiful hike and a great workout

Gorgeous hike. Took the Dipsea Trail and the Matt Davis back to be awarded with beautiful scenic views of the fog cover and ocean...

Beautiful forest, views (the ocean in Halfmoon Bay) and flowers.
If you are fit under 55 you can get started either way, otherwise I would go anti clockwise.

Great trail so beautiful the view up there .. so worth it!!!

hiking
16 days ago

Great trail for beginner or people with some hiking experience.. close to moderate but not too difficult. If u do the hills starting from west side of the lake towards north and then looping down south on the east side of lake will be better than doing the other way around unless u r a hiker who loves going up grades.. the grade from the east side of lake for a 1/2 a mile is steep.. but otherwise the hike is generally easy to moderate.. great views.. about 9 Miles long. 3- 3 1/2 hrs

Hiked the loop clockwise at sunrise. There were already a ton of people by 6am, and the parking lot was full. The clockwise loop ascends a wide, dirt road, which near the summit turns into a rocky and uneven trail. The descent takes the Horse Heaven trail, which is narrow, steep and uneven. The morning light and the fog layer made for a pretty cool view of the bay. Took about an hour to hike up and another hour to make the steep descent.

Good hike - views were nice. Parking lot is really small but since we went on a weekday we got a spot. Very steep near the start but otherwise a pleasant hike. Saw lots of lizards and a baby king snake. Got engulfed in a ladybug swarm which was a little strange! Can get a little warm in spots but not bad even in summer.

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked the loop, counterclockwise, last week (07/21) and started about 06:07am and finished back to car at 09:43am, which included at 15/20 minute break at Berry Falls. I've done this hike in the past couple years ago.

GAIS GPS clocked in at 10:55 miles roundtrip, while the Apple Watch clocked in at 10.46miles.

You'll be mostly in the shade. There are some section of the trail that are closed so watch for the detour signs. Can't miss them. A lot of up/downs. If you start counter-clockwise, you'll be mostly going down, or up gradual inclines but nothing too crazy. The last three miles is mostly up, but gradual.

Overall, nice hike through the redwood and peaceful and calm (as I was there pretty early). Go early if you can. It's nice and peaceful early in the morning when it's quiet.

Quite strenuous loop, considering few closures along the hike. Get early to avoid the crowd. 3 waterfalls along.

Beautiful. Steep unfinished steps.

LOVE this trail! SO beautiful, a lot of different types of scenery. Highly recommend!

What a great hike. Incredibly beautiful!

Using this exact route we chose to go East first.

Starting at 9am on a Saturday, we saw only about 12 people in total until about the 6 mile mark.

The trail is beautiful but not in a scenic vista way. You will constantly have shade and a limited view of the path before and behind you as it is well grown bushes and trees as well as numerous turns.

We didn't see much wildlife but the manzanitas are amazing as well as the redwoods here and there.

The lake is a nice serene spot to have a small break. No bugs or mosquitoes.

The path is well marked but bring your map on the app as it did help. Also, it is well maintained but there is a lot of erosion which means you will need to concentrate on your steps for most of the entire hike...so a lot of engagement with the path.

If you do this exact hike, if you are just in average shape, it will be hard. If less than average shape, it will be strenuous. If in good shape it will be a good long exhausting hike.

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