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Dipsea Trail from Mill Valley Trailhead

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Muir Woods National Monument

Dipsea Trail from Mill Valley Trailhead is a 7.6 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Mill Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until September.

Length 7.6 mi Elevation gain 2,037 ft Route type Point to Point
Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Running Beach Event Forest Partially paved Views Wild flowers Wildlife No dogs
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This trail takes you from the picturesque town of Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, it can also be hiked from either direction, but most people opt to go from Mill Valley to the coast. The Dipsea Race, for which the trail is now famous, takes place here every year, and it’s speculated as one of the oldest trail races in America. The start from Mill Valley begins with nearly 700 steps in the first mile, the plaques with names on the steps honors previous Dipsea winners and participants. The trail is well marked with a Dipsea sign, it gets very steep in sections, and some parts through fire roads which are more exposed, offering less shade. Some sections are especially technical through forests, flowy singletrack among majestic redwoods and coastal landscapes, with breathtaking views of the Pacific. Please note: This is a point-to-point trail, you’ll need to either leave a car at Stinson Beach for your return trip, or take the Marin Transit shuttle (No. 61) back to Mill Valley. Or if you are feeling up for a challenge, you can do “the Double Dipsea” and run the legendary Dipsea Trail both directions.

Dipsea Race: https://www.dipsea.org/ Muir Woods National Monument: https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm

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Reviews (303)
Photos (2784)
Recordings (332)
Completed (637)
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Robert Stillwagon
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Hiking

Lovely

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Manya Sivanandam
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HikingGreat!
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Nano Nate
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Hiking

Beautifully paved and well maintained trail. Easy to moderate hike. Lots of views and shades. Perfect weather. Out and back trail to the beach. Highly recommended for all level of hikers who can climb about 800 stairs.

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Michelle G-S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 22, 2020
Hiking

great trail...just plan on going back the way you came if can't get ride back!

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Joseph Matarese
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Hiking

Nice summer hike to Stinson Beach and back to Mill Valley. Just under 7.5 miles each way. Bring 2-3L water as it can get warm in the afternoon. Plan to take a dip in the Pacific. Trail can get a bit crowded in summer, but not too bad. Two ‘up and downs’ each way. One between Mill Valley and Muir Woods and the other Cardiac Hill. Lots of stair-climbing out of Mill Valley but don’t worry - most of trail is not like this except perhaps for similar climb @ 1.5 miles on the way back from Stinson Beach.

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theresa hoang
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Hiking
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varun varadharajan
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Hiking

One of the best hikes I have done in the Bay Area. I would rate it more stars but unfortunately there is no such option! :) The early morning mist makes everything in the forest beautiful. Starting as early as 6 was definitely one of the best decisions for this hike. Start early especially if you are doing the Double Dipsea which is 15 miles with 4000 ft of elevation.

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Rick Umoff
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Hiking

Beautiful hike with a little bit of everything from redwoods to views to the beach! After a great hike treat yourself to an ice cream in Stinson! Plus the shuttle back to Muir Woods is very handy! There are lots of steps, so if that's hard on your knees plan accordingly. Highly recommend.

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Day Inc
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BugsMuddy

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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Mike Clement
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Hiking

Mill Valley to Cardiac Hill

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Sophie L
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HikingOver grown
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Michelle Spicer
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Hiking

it was a nice hike but I feel that the views and the beauty of it are very overrated. Mill Valley and the stairs were my favorite part, overall it was meh, I wouldn't personally recommend this hike to anyone

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Scout Leonard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2020
HikingGreat!Private property

I did the out and back starting in Mill Valley. Tough climb at the start, and then hiking out from Stinson Beach. The beach was also pretty busy (for a Wednesday) and so less comfortable for social distancing so I cut my lunch short. Lots of changes in scenery - gorgeous hike along the ocean and in Muir Woods. Public restrooms at Old Mill Park (trailhead) are closed due to covid, snd the first mile takes you through residential areas, so go at home before setting out!

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William Davenport
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Hiking

A beautiful hike.

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Nick Chandler
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HikingBridge out

Had to take detour. Amazing hike. Muir Woods are incredible

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Savannah Hicks
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HikingBridge out

Beautiful trail - not too heavily trafficked on Memorial Day weekend. Parking was fairly easy. Only hiccup was a bridge is closed near Muir Woods to protect the breeding ground of a sensitive species, so they send you on a fairly lengthy detour so it can up the mileage. But the views from the top are worth it!

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Corey Stary
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HikingBridge outOver grownRocky
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David Uy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 7, 2020
Hiking

Double Dipsea completed on 3/7/2020. Deer Park Road was open that Saturday to hike, but the road was super muddy from recent rains and construction vehicles. During the weekday, there is construction on Deer Park Road and it's closed to hiking. You will need to use alternate route via Ben Johnson Trail

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Roseann Day
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Hiking

A little hard to figure out the trail head but once we were on our way (up up up stairs) it was a great hike! The mileage listed is just one way so we didn’t do the whole thing but would be a mighty round trip day hike. Parking near the trailhead marked here is really limited so would park near the park in mill valley and walk up from there.

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Max Weinstein
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HikingBridge out
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Hannah Koch
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Hiking

Amazing trail. DOUBLE DIPSEA FOR THE WIN

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Aurora Dawn Benton
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HikingBridge out
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Ryan Waterbury
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Hiking

1/5/19 - great weather could see Farallon Islands from the trail once we reached beach.

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Ellie Arndt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 31, 2019
Hiking

Very fun trail! Lots of things to see! The views of the hills are incredible. It is pretty steep uphills for the majority of the hike, so I would be prepared for some good cardio!

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Bri S
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Hiking

So beautiful, and really varied scenery helps keep it interesting. Lots of trail runners. Bring plenty of water-- the climbs are intense. Parked at Old Mill Park and did out and back. Took 6 hours/15.36miles/4,352 elevation. At Stinson Beach there's a snack stand so you can treat yourself halfway.

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Aly Monsoon
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Hiking

No double/quad dipsea for me, just a stroll through the woods to hang out at the beach. Worth it, so much tougher than I thought it was going to be. It's not a mountain hike or anything, but it's pretty and it'll get your heart pumping if you're walking with somebody on a mission. It gets really hot, really consider your options for the return trip from the beach because we saw a lot of families struggling with those stairs heading into the woods from the beach. If you can't do it, take a bus or plan your shuttle options before hand.

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