Dipsea Trail from Muir Woods to Stinson Beach

HARD 263 reviews

Dipsea Trail from Muir Woods to Stinson Beach is a 9.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mill Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
9.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,631 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

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.

hiking
16 hours ago

Start early in the day in case you get lost! Use a tracker on your phone (or screen shot directions or a map because you’re not always going to have service!) For the most part, you will see signs to guide you. We took a few wrong turns and had to guess where we were going. We also had to ask a few people directions. My son is 11 and didn’t complain, he even fell and bloodied his knee and still kept going! Although my nephew (his cousin that’s about the same age) barely made it :( We had to stop and sit multiple times, which kind of got irritating because it was getting dark. However, family is family and I felt really bad for my nephew. This hike is def. not for the inactive.

There were an abundance of beautiful redwood trees and green forest areas, but I saw very little streams (or what used to be streams) so I wasn’t that impressed. I didn’t see the beautiful bed/meadow of flowers I saw in the pictures on Yelp or online that people posted. It could have also been because I believe we got lost and took a ghost route for a bit. Now that was the scary part- towards the 5th mile I think? I can’t remember but we came to a split path with no signs. We walked one way for a little bit but decided to backtrack and take the other route. The trail kind of seemed shady about half a mile in (very narrow paths with branches and bushes almost about to cover the path). I was thinking about turning back and my son was eager to get out of there he kept going faster pushing through. Eventually the path got a little wider and we ended up back on what we hoped was the Dipsea Trail— but because we were apparently on a ghost trail, we had cut back into the this bigger trail and didn’t know which way to go!!! We had no service so we had to guess and make a decision to where we thought the beach was! About almost another half mile, we started to second guess AGAIN. This was def. a God moment because it was getting dark and everyone seemed a little worried. I thought, I better start praying because I’m starting to feel a little scared. I quietly called out God’s name. Then out of nowhere this couple showed up and gave us directions

Awesome hiking place, must to go!

trail running
9 days ago

Go early. Start at Stinson Beach to Muir Woods. Reward yourself with the beach at the end. It’s beautiful. Excellent trail for running. Saw one snake and it was little. Not overly busy but later on the way back more hikers around. It was beautiful.

hiking
10 days ago

I did this hike solo and it was such a beautiful experience. I recommend buying the Dipsea trail map they have at the visitor center in Muir Woods. It helped me get through the whole day without much trouble figuring out the trail because it can get complicated at some points considering there are so many trails in Muir Woods. Start out surrounded by redwoods. End your journey resting your tired ass toes in the Pacific at Stinson Beach. Just to finish off at the beach was one of the most phenomenal feelings and moments of my life. Currently writing this review at Stinson beach because I couldn’t pass up the moment to capture my energy from this hike.

hiking
15 days ago

loved this trail! It had such diverse terrain and views. It was absolutely beautiful! It is a difficult trail though for sure. I am from Colorado and hike all over the place but this is now one of my favorite hikes!

23 days ago

Dipsea half marathon was muddy, raining, tough

trail running
30 days ago

This is one of the most scenic and beautiful trails I have ever run! However, it is also one of the most difficult. Many of the uphills and some downhills are not run-able as they are too steep, but there are some stretches that finally level out enough to run normally. This trail has become one of my favorite training grounds for trail running!

1 month ago

Fabulous!!! Amazing trail! Challenging at times, but so much fun! Loved every step and all the different sceneries with wonderful vegetation. From the tall trees to the foggy wet areas, mountain and ocean views, so much to see and explore!! Make sure you buy your $1.00 map at the visitor center. The free map is not as detailed as the one you buy. Wear layers as the mornings are cool, but you get warm fast going up the trail. Enclosed shoes are a must. Bring extra water, sunscreen, a hat and get ready to enjoy nature, listen to everything that nature has to offer. We did the round hike, out and back. We had a wonderful lunch at Stinson Beach, walked up to the beach and then headed back to the trail. Our return was a lot faster than our first part of the hike going there. Go early, right when the park opens, the morning fog is beautiful!!!!

1 month ago

The mountain so nice, we climbed it twice. It's pretty steep on both ends. The forest is really beautiful, and I suggest going early bc the fog makes it particularly nice. I love all the big trees.

hiking
1 month ago

Incredibly gorgeous hike! Started at Stinson Beach and went to Muir Woods and back (best option for parking/there's a bus that goes from Stinson Beach to Sausalito). Great views of the Redwoods throughout the hike! Would rate it more as moderate though: there was an extended climb of scares, then another turning back from Muir Woods, but otherwise it wasn't too difficult.

hiking
2 months ago

Went from Stinson to Muir Woods and back. Recommend this way as you start and end at beach and it’s easier for parking and public transit.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing trail. Lots of stairs and climbing in the woods where no sunshine gets through. Your thighs will be burning. *disclaimer* if you make it all the way to Stinson beach please note there is no bus Uber or Lyft in that town to take you back after the 9 miles lol. There is only one taxi in that small creepy town but the beach is beautiful. No cell reception either. Experienced hikers only.

hiking
2 months ago

I did a modified version of this trail. I took the Dipsea Trail to Ben Johnson Trail to Bohemian Grove Trail to the Main Trail past the Cathedral Grove to the Bootjack Trail to Pantoll campground to John Davis Trail back to Stinson Beach. Nice variety of views, great work out too. Roughly 13 miles, 3000ft up and 2700ft down.

2 months ago

Literally the best hike I’ve ever taken in my life. No joke. Did an up and back with my sister and we decided to take another loop route down from Muir Woods. Followed the stream up to the top of the ridge then back down. Amazing ocean views. Diverse vegetation. And of course unforgettable walk around the giant redwoods in Muir Woods. One for the memory books.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views all the way through! We did this Trail counterclockwise since we couldn’t find parking at Muir Woods. Beautiful nevertheless!

hiking
3 months ago

Fascinating trail, it looks like someone has done gardening throughout the trail , if you go from Stinson beach to Mill valley, it’s steep

4 months ago

Amazing historic trail going through the woods, grassy hilly pastures and along the coast. I parked on the highway and walked down and then on the way back took the matt Davis trail up and connected to old mine trail to get back to the dipsea. That was about 15 miles and worth it

hiking
4 months ago

Wow! Started off surrounded by giant redwoods and Sequoias, ended surrounded by the ocean. A beautiful hike. Very challenging going up and over the mountain and lots of stairs in parts. Only went out...not back (that would have been a bit crazy for my family). Loved every second of this trail!

hiking
5 months ago

The only way to the trail head we could find is through the main park entrance and then taking bridge number 4 and Ben Johnson trail up where it intersected with Dipsea trail. We followed the Dipsea trail sign after that but it looped and we noticed from Garmn navigation device that we were only a mile away from the car at some point. So we had an option of taking the road and coming back to the car or going back the same way we came in. So most probably we were on a sort of different route but still enjoyed climbing up and later descending in redwood forest as well as distance Pacific views from the top. Even came across a deer.
The trail was crowded and full of trail runners who ran despite the risk of tripping hazard. One of them ended up falling and bleeding...ouch

hiking
5 months ago

The only way to the trail head we could find is through the main park entrance and then taking bridge number 4 and Ben Johnson trail up where it intersected with Dipsea trail. We followed the Dipsea trail sign after that but it looped and we noticed from Garmn navigation device that we were only a mile away from the car at some point. So we had an option of taking the road and coming back to the car or going back the same way we came in. So most probably we were on a sort of different route but still enjoyed climbing up and later descending in redwood forest as well as distance Pacific views from the top. Even came across a deer.
The trail was crowded and full of trail runners who ran despite the risk of tripping hazard. One of them ended up falling and bleeding...ouch

5 months ago

It is soooo goood trail!!!!!

5 months ago

Great workout! Lots of stairs and incline.
My friends and I started at the wrong trailhead...not sure how...but we ended up adding an additional 4miles roundtrip to the hike.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful trail. Do note reservations are required ahead of time to park at the lot. We had to park at a different trailhead and backtrack to Dipsea.

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome Trail. I would rate this trail as moderate.

6 months ago

Step up to breathtaking views of this beautiful earth and feel one with our natural habitat on the Dipsea Trail. This was our first real Marin hike; definitely the gateway drug to other hikes in Marin/Mill Valley. Been going every weekend since. Just know you can’t get an Uber at Stinson beach.

hiking
6 months ago

This trail is awesome! Can get very tiring with the ups and downs, but there are stairs built in to some parts. It goes in and out of trees and open areas. Great views

hiking
7 months ago

Nice trail but only did one way. One part of the trail was overgrown. Took public transit to go back to Muir Woods visitors center. Doable with a 8 month old.

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail...not as difficult as I expected. Lots of wildlife early in the morning before lots of people show up. Took about 3 hrs to complete with a few stops in between for photos. Very rewarding finish at Stinson Beach. If you have time hit The Siren Canteen on the beach to "refuel".

hiking
8 months ago

We started the hike from Muir Woods, parked at the Muir Woods Monument overflow parking. Tip: arrive early (7-8AM) to avoid the tourist crowds that fill up the lots quick. The hike begins at around mile 3-4 of the “Dipsea Race”. It is a steep 1,300+ foot climb thru the beautiful wilderness, frigid and moist in the cold months, hot and dry in the summer months. The trail intertwines with the fire road, either one is fine to take, but the true Dipsea Trail offers more shade. Once you summit at a point called “Cardiac”, there are sweeping views and a small pit stop with a water fountain. This marks your descent to Stinson beach, about 3.5 miles. You enter the abyss of moss covered trees and towering redwoods. Descending down 100+++ steps, a little muddy and slippery. When you arrive at a foot bridge, go left, and continue to follow signs to Stinson Beach. At this point you have about 1.5 miles left! Enjoy your time at the beach, take a dip, have a bite to eat because you’re about to do it all over again, in reverse!! Then upon returning to Muir Woods, you would have completed the “Double Dipsea!”

hiking
9 months ago

Unbelievable views of the Pacific and SF. The trail is diverse going from densely wooded to standing on the sand with the waves crashing. Stinson Beach is a bit of a tourist trap with restaurants and gift shops which could be good or bad depending on what is desired. The trail was heavily trafficked. I had to stop multiple times to allow runners and mountain bikers to pass safely. If you access the trail from the overflow parking lot you can avoid the $10 entrance fee at the main gate. Overall a must have experience.

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