Dipsea Trail to Steep Ravine Trail to Matt Davis Loop Trail

MODERATE 512 reviews

Dipsea Trail to Steep Ravine Trail to Matt Davis Loop Trail is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Stinson Beach, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
6.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1820 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

trail running

walking

beach

forest

views

waterfall

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

Hike from the Pacific Ocean all the way up to The Muir Woods Visitor Center. There area spectacular ocean views, rushing creeks, and pretty waterfalls. Steep Ravine is a real jewel in Marin County's crown. Cutting deep into the landscape over millennia the water rushing through Webb Creek has created a spectacularly steep sided and lush canyon shaded by towering redwood trees and populated with a wide variety of local flora and fauna. The hike begins along the Dipsea Trail at Stinson Beach. It climbs gradually with many ocean views until you reach its' junction with the Steep Ravine Trail. From here it climbs 1000 ft. to Pantoll ranger station in 1.5 miles. There are two significant waterfalls along Webb Creek in Steep Ravine. The upper one is interesting because you have to climb up the waterfall via a 10 ft. high ladder. These waterfalls are best seen in the winter or early spring months, after there has been a lot of rain. Once at Pantoll, cross the highway and head back down to Stinson Beach via the Matt Davis trail. You will find more great ocean views on this trail. Many people like to do this hike in the reverse direction, going up Matt Davis trail and down Steep Ravine. But the Matt Davis trail is longer (4 miles) and it is all up hill if you go this way.

hiking
2 hours ago

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3 days ago

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3 days ago

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3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

We started at Pantoll campground, descended via Matt Davis trail and back up dipsea/steep ravine.

Don't attempt this hike in sneakers, those vile sneaker sandals (teevas?) or anything that isn't a sturdy hiker or boot with decent grip and support, the going can be uneven and sloppy in places.

Love this hike!

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4 days ago

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7 days ago

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8 days ago

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9 days ago

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10 days ago

Really great hike. We actually missed the cut over to Steep Ravine Trail and headed up Dipsea Trail to the top. Had to take Old Mine Trail to Pantoll Campground and headed down Matt Davis Trail from there. Lots of stairs to climb up but we managed them. Amazing views. Great day.

hiking
10 days ago

11 days ago

We went down dipsea and up matt Davis! Second half was all uphill and mostly shaded but it wasn't too bad :)

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14 days ago

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19 days ago

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21 days ago

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22 days ago

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23 days ago

I did this hike in late July on a cool day (around low 60s). I recorded mileage closer to 7.25 miles for the loop.

This trail is one of my favorite this season. The trail is:
1) well-shaded (save a few short sections that offer lovely views of the ocean and Stinson Beach),
2) has a variety of terrain (rock, steps, nice soft soil, bridges, and even a ladder), and
3) the forest is very beautiful - perhaps the most beautiful I've hiked in (very typical for Mt. Tam/Muir Woods - like something out of LoTR).

I went up on Dipsea/Steep Ravine, then down on Matt Davis. Matt Davis is quite steep with lots of switchbacks. Dipsea/Steep Ravine has a more gradual ascent/descent. You can tell this from the elevation map on All Trails. You can do this loop starting at the Pan Toll Ranger Station (this will save you about 20-30 minutes of driving through Mt. Tam), but then you have to go down first, and climb up on your way out. Going up on Matt Davis would get you through the ascent more quickly, and could be easier on your knees doing down Dipsea/Steep Ravine.

I enjoyed going up on Dipsea/Steep Ravine because it offers a beautiful view of the forest. Also, you get to go up the short ladder, which is probably easier than going down. The only drawback is you go up gradually and have to turn back to see Stinson Beach while you're hiking. You might need a break going up anyway - and the weather might not cooperate. It was pretty hazy when we were overlooking the beach (see my photos).

Mt. Tam is generally cool, so I wore hiking pants and a roll-up sleeve shirt. I brought a sun hat which I did use on one portion of the trail. You can hike the trail in sneakers, but trail shoes are probably better for the rockier sections. I always wear boots or trail shoes. I did not need any bug spray, but it was a cool day. I suspect if it had been 10 degrees warmer, I might have needed some.

I did another hike in this area (Cataract Falls-Portrero Meadows) about one month prior. Both trails are absolutely lovely and worth a day hike. It's hard to say which is better - no real waterfall or lake on this (Dipsea) trail, but for large parts of it, you're walking along a stream with little baby waterfalls. You also get views of the ocean on this trail. The trails are similar in difficulty - the Cataract Falls/Portrero Meadows loop is slightly harder because you have to climb up at the end, and that trail is about one mile longer.

hiking
24 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

It was an awesome hike. Enjoyed the quietness in the deep forest. It wasn't that heavily trafficked. We had quite a bit of trouble when the loop cuts off between steep Ravine and Matt Davis trail. There are no good signs of direction on the road. we went off track a little bit and had to traverse back before we got to the Matt Davis trailhead. Other than that, we enjoyed the hike so much. The elevation was quite stable. We ascended up all the way in the first half and descended down from midway till the end.

When we exited out of Matt Davis trail, we saw signboards to watch out for Coyotes in the trail. I don't remember seeing that Signboard in the place where we began on Matt Davis trail. So just watch out, if you are doing this loop!