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Dipsea Trail is a 9.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mill Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length 9.7 mi Elevation gain 2,545 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Running Beach Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy No dogs
Description
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Getting There

If passing through Muir Woods Visitor Center, entrance fees will apply. The Dipsea Trail (or the Ben Johnson Trail) through Muir Woods National Monument to Stinson Beach is an amazing trail through the famous California redwoods.

Vehicles over 35 feet long are prohibited. There are no RV parking facilities. RVs must park on the street. TIP: We arrived before the office opened at 9:00am (though the website says the office is supposed to open at 8:00am every day) and didn't have to pay the $7/adult (16+ years old) entrance fee.

Emergency numbers: Park Police (415) 561-5656 from a cell phone (415) 472-0911 Information (415) 388-2596 Nature Hotline (415) 388-2595 Website www.nps.gov/muwo

Muir Woods National Monument 1 Muir Woods Road Mill Valley, CA 94941 From San Francisco, Peninsula, or South Bay to Muir Woods Take Highway 101 North across the Golden Gate Bridge. Exit Highway 1/Stinson Beach (there will be a sign for Muir Woods at this exit) Drive about .5 miles. At the stoplight, turn left. Drive about 2.7 miles. At the top of the hill, turn right towards Muir Woods/Mount Tamalpais. Drive about 0.8 miles. At the 4-way intersection, turn left towards Muir Woods (oncoming traffic has the right of way!). Continue down the hill about 1.6 miles. The Muir Woods parking lot will be at the bottom of the hill, on a sharp turn, on your right. From Berkeley, Oakland, or East Bay to Muir Woods Take Interstate 80 East from the Bay Bridge. Exit Interstate 580 West for the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge Exit Hwy 101 South Exit Highway 1/Stinson Beach (there will be a sign for Muir Woods at this exit) Drive about .5 miles. At the stoplight, turn left. Drive about 2.7 miles. At the top of the hill, turn right towards Muir Woods/Mount Tamalpais. Drive about 0.8 miles. At the 4-way intersection, turn left towards Muir Woods (oncoming traffic has the right of way!). Continue down the hill about 1.6 miles. The Muir Woods parking lot will be at the bottom of the hill, on a sharp turn, on your right. From San Rafael, Santa Rosa, or North Bay to Muir Woods Take Highway 101 South Exit Highway 1/Stinson Beach (there will be a sign for Muir Woods at this exit) Drive about .5 miles. At the stoplight, turn left. Drive about 2.7 miles. At the top of the hill, turn right towards Muir Woods/Mount Tamalpais. Drive about 0.8 miles. At the 4-way intersection, turn left towards Muir Woods (oncoming traffic has the right of way!). Continue down the hill about 1.6 miles. The Muir Woods parking lot will be at the bottom of the hill, on a sharp turn, on your right. From Stinson Beach, Olema, or Highway 1 North to Muir Woods Take Panoramic Highway from Stinson Beach. Turn Right at Muir Woods (Frank Valley) Road. Drive about 1 mile to the Muir Woods parking lot.

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Reviews (560)
Photos (2298)
Recordings (402)
Completed (1727)
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Katsumi Kikkawa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 16, 2020
Running

The trail was good and the scenery was beautiful, especially Stinson beach. But, it was very hard. From the beach to the top of hill is very steep and very hard. I was so tired.

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Gudrun Passlack
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Hiking
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Taiwo Alabi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking

Amazing - a little smoky at the peak from all the wild fires

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Giridhar Raman
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2020
HikingRocky
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Ayush Upadhyay
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Hiking
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Colleen McCoy
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Hiking

I loves ferns!!! Simply beautiful!

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Tim Dugan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 3, 2020
Running

I do a "Double Dipsea" run (Mill Valley to Stinson and back to Mill Valley) every January 1st. The redwoods and the coastal views never get old and they help you forget about the pain! Very challenging but very rewarding.

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Andy Mandy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike with lots of shade and lovely views.

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Charley Tessier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 1, 2020

This trail was absolutely breathtaking! There was dense fog the entire day. The lush forest was unbelievable, it looked like a scene right out of Twilight. I started at the beach and ended at the beginning of the trail. I'd say if your trying to get that bootay right and tight this is the way to start...given all of the stairs!!!! Best you start early to avoid crowds. I stared as soon as the sun came up. I never understood why hikers had walking sticks until I took this hike. S%#&× gets real. So real that I burned 2,000+ calories on this hike! This will be my favorite go to for sure. And I'm a little salty that I only recorded one way on the hike because I didn't know how to press a record button. So might as well do it all over again. Parking by beach is free. I'm definitely bringing the wetsuit to take a dip after hike next time around.

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Randy Miranda
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Hiking

A magical fantasy

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Mezzanine Beecomb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020
Hiking

beautiful trail, people thin out as you get closer to Muir Woods. Fog and beauty. Great to pair with other adjoining trails.

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S Gadam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2020
Hiking

Great trail, excellent air quality. Found plenty of parking at 7 am. Almost all shaded trail, lot of moisture and condensation on the trail made for perfect ambiance. Very picturesque!

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Vang Xyooj
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 21, 2020
Hiking

On the way back from the trail take the Ben Johnson trailhead to hike back to the parking lot. You'll not regret it if you are only doing a one day hike. look at my record to see what i mean. and bring sunscreen as the trail to the beach has a lot of sunlight.

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Han Na
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

Trail: VERY challenging if you're only used to doing moderate difficult trails. 19+ miles round trip. The 9.7 miles is only one way. Expect to spend all day. 300+ steps in Mill Valley. With more throughout the trail + steep incline stretches or downhill. Lot of unshaded stretches along the way after you get past Muir Woods parking lot. Especially shortly after the water fountain where there's a lookout point about 10 mins in. Perfect for cardio, glute, and thigh strength building. Water stations are located at Muir Woods parking lot, at the lookout point about 1.5-2 miles in from the parking lot, and at Stinson Beach. What to bring: Nutrient rich fruits, nuts, bars, cold water. I brought nectarine, apple, orange, cliff bar, wide brimmed hat, sunblock to reapply. Make sure to load up on water at every water station if you can if it's a hot day. Went during heatwave over the weekend and likely to overheat unless you're body is conditioned for this type of intense weather/workout combo. Trail running shoes in summer as they're lighter, breathable, and still have great grip for the dirt path roads.

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Janet Mun
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
No shade

Wow. What a trail . Lots of inclines and stairs galore. Not for those who haven’t done cardio in awhile . It was challenging but fun. Make sure to have someone in your party park their car at Stinson Beach and then carpool back to third starting point if you don’t want to make the 9-10 mile trek back.

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Vita Danchuk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2020
HikingGreat!Muddy

Fun hike! Especially with the rainy and foggy weather! The stairs were a little harder and it was muddy but worth it! Views are breathtaking.

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Lynn Larson
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HikingMuddyNo shade

Great hike! Would recommend starting at Stinson Beach rather than in Muir Woods. Good mix of redwoods and coastal environments to keep the hike and views interesting!

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Zhanna B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 12, 2020
HikingMuddy

This trail is worth every step!!!! So beautiful and amazing! Lots of stairs! Definitely a must if you’re looking for a magical experience.

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Katherine Swanson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
WalkingGreat!Muddy

Beautiful scenery. If you are hiking on a sunny day it is nice because once you get to the top, the lookout to the ocean is outstanding. It is also great to hike with the fog though due to the fact that it remains colder so you don’t burn up as easily.

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Manoj Dhanapal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

Good views of the ocean and ends at the beach!

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John Lee
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Hiking
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Day Inc
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingGreat!Muddy

BEWARE if you are hiking from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach... No cell signal for Uber or Lyft. You will have to call the local cab at 415.868.8888. The other option is a bus (limit of 6 riders due to Covid) which you can catch across the street from the grocery store and next to the park. Both options require cash. Be prepared to make the round trip if you can't get either. This is one of the most beautiful trails in the Bay Area. I started from the very beginning which is the Dipsea Stairs by Old Mill Park. In my opinion, the 3 flights of long stairs at the beginning is the hardest part. Not sure why people make a big deal about Cardiac Hill. If you have ever hiked Mission Peak, Cardiac Hill is a baby in comparison. There are some muddy sections through the forest so wear good shoes. Saw mosquitoes so bring bug spray. If you are starting at Mill Valley, I would recommend paying for parking at the Sunnyside Parking Lot so you don't have to worry about getting towed. Pay for the full day in case you run late as parking tickets in Mill Valley are very expensive.

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Emmet Fox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingMuddy

Started at Stinson beach. The trail was crowded and very narrow for two way traffic. I wouldn’t recommend it on a weekend as long as COVID persists. The elevation gains and drops are made primarily by stairs.

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MAG User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020
Hiking

Great trail! Super hot, not a lot of shade on some parts of the hike, and but overall was a great hike!

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RONNY GROOMS
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020
Hiking

An amazing day from Muir Woods’ main parking lot to Stinson beach. Fog and clouds from the sea had saturated the trees so certain points in the trail would be like localized light rain showers, making some Trail a little wet, muddy, and slippery. Ended up doing 13 miles total for the day and mile 10.5 - 11 decline was murder on the knees. A majestic walk top to bottom.

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