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Muir Woods: Ben Johnson to Dipsea Trail Loop

MODERATE 168 reviews

Muir Woods: Ben Johnson to Dipsea Trail Loop is a 3.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Mill Valley, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options.

Distance: 3.9 miles Elevation Gain: 987 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly


nature trips


bird watching





wild flowers


no dogs

Parking along Muir Woods Rd. This can be backed up for several miles due to the popularity of this area.

1 month ago

Some great climbs!

2 months ago

lots of switchbacks at the dipsea trail junction. very enjoyable

2 months ago

You need to reserve parking ahead of time but otherwise a beautiful hike. There’s a water station about halfway once you break out of the forest.

Tough climb, but worth it for the view and Redwoods.

3 months ago

A little strenuous if you aren't in the best shape, especially the last little bit to the top before you get to Dipsea trail. But the forest is gorgeous and once you get to Dipsea trail (given that it's a clear day) the views are more than worth it! I enjoyed the second half of the hike, which was all downhill. It was fun to run/hop down the trail that takes you back to the parking lot. Nice and cool in the shade.

3 months ago

4 months ago

Started at bridge 4 on the Muir Woods boardwalk. Decent workout, packs a punch in 4 miles as it is steep in places. We added another mile to make it to the veterans bench on the Dipsea trail. I highly recommend this detour for the ocean view. Other than the veterans bench, the ocean is only visible in a couple spots along the dipsea trail, plus if it’s cloudy the ocean view isn’t seen clearly.

5 months ago

Moderate level exercise, variable terrain, a little muddy not bad, views were ok at best.

This trail is amazing! After the first mile or so through the redwoods you get away from the tourists and the trail is really peaceful and isolated. We didn’t see a single person after the first redwood mile. The trail has tons of wildlife- we saw turkeys, lizards, lots of birds, and chips. Beautiful views of the ocean and a cool variety of terrain. The drive there tops it off!! Worth mentioning that you have to pay to park and the lots fill up easily. Also dipsea trail is closed in one area but the deer fire trail is marked clearly as a detour and was no trouble at all.

7 months ago

Started out at the monument crossed over bridge 4 it was all uphill, very strenuous but worth the challenge. Finished at the Dipsea trail. So many other trails to do. Make sure you buy your parking and admission in advance,

9 months ago

Beautiful hike through redwoods with amazing ocean views from cardiac hill.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Took about 3 hours. Beginning portion on Dipsea trail is all in the sun and uphill. Once Ben Johnson starts it’s all downhill and shade.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Honest review by a hiking newbie family of three, with the kid being a 7 yr old girl. We did the trail in reverse with the intention that we might attempt the Dipsea depending on how the kid was doing. Had a parking reservation at 8am and snagged a parking spot very close to the Dipsea trail marker. Trail was very doable for us, but quite warm (full sun on ridge -- end of June). Lots of solitude (maybe encountered 5 hikers), distant ocean views, meadow and forest trails, and tons of butterflies. Kid had heel complaint so we went Stapelveldt (steep desent switchbacks) to Ben Johnson (busy trail, terrain is filled with roots that trips up heavy tired feet, steep in parts, log crossings) to Hillside to Main Muir Woods trail which completes the loop. Before taking this on, we already bought the $1 trail map in Muir Woods.

nature trips
Thursday, August 23, 2018

The trail starts off with half a mile of the scenic redwoods. They are as beautiful and poised as they come. Soon after the scenic trail, going towards Ben Johnson, the trail becomes an elevated climb and is progressively becomes steeper until about a mile from summit where it is the steepest. but don't stop until you reach the summit since the view is awesome with lofty terrain around and a view of the bay if there's no fog. also you can top off your potable water at the summit. then turning back towards dip see trail is all downhill and equally enjoyable.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

It’s a beautiful hike. Not too crowded. A little tougher than I expected. The sign says allow 3 hours but we did in just under 2 with lots of photo ops.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wonderful trail with lots of shade. Went with my girlfriends and her 2 friends on a Sunday afternoon in mid-August. We hit the fog in the scenic spots, which was a slight shame. Fun hike nonetheless.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Need to know. No more free parking along the road. Reservations to park within the Muir Woods parking lot required. Cost $6.00. Reservations now required to enter the park. Bus reservations required as well. You can park your car at the Muir Beach public parking lot then walk back up the road to Muir Woods. It’s a great trail offering redwoods and coastal marine views on the westerly Dipsea trail. Exit back to Muir Beach when you hit the coast road.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

It is an easy evening hike. Takes roughly 2.5 hours to complete. A smaller deviation to pantoll before taking the dipsea downhill will give you more rewarding views of the ocean and bay area.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Great hike. Fantastic ascent through the redwoods then down through grassy meadows on the Dipsea Trail with views back toward the Pacific. There was a lot of lingering fog on the day we went but it was still spectacular. Would love to come back and try some of the other hikes in Mt. Tamalpais nearby.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Beautiful hiking trails and beach view. National park so there is other fun things to do.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Really nice trail. It’s been awhile since I’ve been hiking in the area and this was a nice trail to get reacquainted! We started in the Muir Woods overflow parking lot (remember that reservations for parking are now always required, and they scan your barcode at the entrance so be sure to download before your trip; there’s no service in the park). From the overflow parking lot, you can hop right onto the Dipsea Trail and hike up to Ben Johnson which will take you straight to the scenic walk and visitor’s center. Redwoods require fog for much of their water supply, so regardless of time of year, some places will be wet. If you start at the Dipsea trail from the parking lot, you miss the ticket booth so may want to give a donation at the end. If you start from the scenic walk and take Ben Johnson to Dipsea you’ll need to pay $10/adult to enter. If you have more time, I’d definitely recommend the Matt Davis trail from Stinson Beach, too!

Friday, June 02, 2017

They aren't joking about this being a cardio trail, especially the last 1/2 mile heading up to the ridge. The Redwoods are so tall and cool and provide a lot of shade during the hike. Once you get to the ridge you overlook much of the bay area to the south. There was some lingering fog, but still a welcome view after coming out of the forest. Potable water is provided once you reach the ridge, a nice chance to fill up before heading back to the visitor center.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Awesome views great place to hike

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Great Trail , stunning views

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fun and beautiful trail half uphill not bad at all. Muir Woods is definitely an amazing place.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Beautiful trail, the first half is pretty much all climb, really enjoyed it.

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