Explore the most popular river trails near Stinson Beach with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Amazing view, spectacular trail, forest, meadow, ocean, creek. What do you want from a trail?
Just two heads up:
1) Have enough water and snacks
2) Check the weather before heading off.

Much harder than I expected but one of my favorite hikes ive ever done. My knees and ankles are super sore but it was worth the pain

I enjoyed it! The beauty of the trail was second only to the beauty of my companion. Definitely go clockwise.

A bit too long to walk a loop, but it’s worth it.

My boyfriend and I hiked this a few weeks ago and we both loved it! The incline wasn’t too bad, and the views were beautiful the entire way up! Lots of different scenery along the hike ranging from beach and ocean views, to the forest, to a waterfall! We passed a few people on the trail but overall we felt pretty alone. We completed the hike on a Friday afternoon in about 4 hours with a long stop at the top for lunch!

29 days ago

The reviews are pretty spot on. This is a very off beaten path trail that seems unkept. We did a lot of bobbing, weaving, and low crawling around overgrown plants and fallen trees. The trailhead is at the call box and plenty of parking on the road but a little scary walking with dogs on a road where cars are driving pretty fast and almost no shoulder. Once we got going it was serene to have the trail to just us. The creek was very popular with my dogs. I never made it to the waterfall at the end because the trail up to it was getting a little sketch and didn’t want my dogs falling off the cliff so we turned around and just played in the water. I rate this a 3 because it was rough and almost like just walking randomly in the woods and not a real trail. But if you’re into that kind of hiking this one is for you! It really helps to keep your recording GPS in this app open to ensure you’re tracking correct because it is very unkept and not a clear trail.

Very easy to follow trail.
Beautiful views!

This is a great hike with a nice variety of views and a good work out. I took the Willow camp fire road as another reviewer suggested, I glad I did as it gave some different coastal views but beware it is a bit steep.

3 months ago

Arrived at 9 am and completed around noon. Pretty hike with lots of variation of height, steams, and views. Very dog friendly which was nice. Was a bit wet when I went due to recent rainfall which made parts muddy. Was very packed when we left at noon

I hiked Cataract Falls before during the dry season. But it was mid-March this time and the Bay Area had received a healthy dose of rain all week, so I wanted to return to see the falls in all their splendor.

Hiking to the falls from Stinson Beach certainly adds a degree of difficulty and is great for the more adventurous hiker. Beginners should probably start at the trail head at the southern tip of Alpine Lake.

I really enjoyed the Matt Davis ascent up the west side of Mt. Tam. All the switchbacks and bridges and steps make for an fun hike.

The coastal trail gave me an unexpected surprise about half-way from Matt Davis to Cataract Falls. Right below Ballou Point, you'll come across an old 1940's Pontiac wrecked right along the trail. I'm guessing it took a tumble down from Ridgecrest Blvd. about half a century ago.

The Cataract Trail was so amazing after all the recent rainfall. Everything was so lush and the falls were spectacular.

On the way back, I took the advice of another reviewer and went down the Willow Camp Fire Road instead of crossing back over the coastal trail to return via Matt Davis to Stinson Beach. I would also recommend this as it shaves a mile off the overall hike and offers some different views of Stinson Beach looking to the north. The trail is called a fire road, but it was mostly a single track until you get close to the bottom, so don't let that deter you.


Not going to lie, that hurt. Hurt so good :) Gotta do it, though, it is quintessential Bay Area. It was a foggy, misty day, perfect for not overheating on this brutal hike. I started at the stairs from Old Mill Park in Mill Valley, which climb about 760 ft in a mile up to the Panoramic trailhead where the AllTrails route begins. I think in order to say you did the Dipsea you must include the stairs...you have to earn it :) Also, that’s where the infamous race begins, so start there if you’re training. FYI a bridge is closed in Muir Woods until summer and so you have to take Deer Park Fire Road just a tad south of the Dipsea on Muir Woods Road.

Fun trail. The stairs were fine (novice-moderate hiker, here). Great views of the Bay.

Awesome Hike!


Great trail I went on a weekday and the open grassland part was gorgeous with rolling mist. The part under the trees was green mossy and shaded. Ran into a mama dear and her baby on the trail and waited for them to pass before I continued on. Ben Johnson is a gorgeous continually shaded Redwood single track trail but a long continuous uphill had to take a lot of breaks! 4 instead of 5 stars because the half way point passes through the Muir Woods monument which was hectic with tourists. I lost them quickly as soon as I got on the Ben Johnson tho!

This is a great hike but it’s long and uphill for the first 7.5 miles. If you have experience hiking 8-10 mile mountain hikes, then go for it. Plan your route so you are on Fern Creek Trail coming down from the summit - it’s steep and the most difficult part of the hike. The entire loop is very scenic from start to finish.

You can also park at the Pantoll Station and hike down to Stinson Beach either from Dipsea or Steep Ravine, and hike back up either way.

Matt Davis trail is a nice stroll in the park. Cataract Trail, I was very impressed with the waterfalls. For an added challenge, don't go on the Coastal Trail as the map suggests. Take a slight right, go up the hill and take one of the paths to Rock Springs Trailhead to get back onto Cataract Trail. I logged 14 miles in 5 hours.

Nice and hardest trail. That too initial 2.0 miles from Stinson beach is the best I have experienced it ever. Really worth for 5 star

This was mine and my boyfriends first time at Mt. Tam and it was absolutely breathtaking. I would highly recommend this hiking trail to anyone! I'm not an avid hiker and I'm considered a beginner and this hike was completely feasible for me. I would highly recommend you do the hike "clockwise" because if you go "counter clockwise" you will hit a bunch of steep steps that runs about a mile long and that's not a great way to start the hike. You will see beautiful views of the coast and Stinson beach. We'll definitely be back again soon :)

Hike was great. Very scenic. There wasn't too much water flow, so I'll definitely be going back in the spring time to see those waterfalls. Also make sure to do the hike clockwise. I did it counter clockwise and it was a challenge going up those steep stairs.

Being 26+ weeks pregnant, it's very hard to find hikes that were both interesting and technically feasible for a pregnant woman. Thank goodness I found this hike. The trail is well marked and the inclines and declines were very mild, and where its steep, the trail turns into steps.

Gorgeous trail, just wish I brought hiking poles for extra stability when descending those steps. Also, watch out for the poison oak.

Took one long stop for lunch break and in total about 4 hours to finish at my snails pace.

10 months ago

Long but moderately hard hike. prepare to take as long as you need to finish.

trail running
11 months ago

Awesome trail running. Very scenic and beautiful.

Very long, challenging hike. Steep Ravine is the one of the prettiest trails I have seen. There is a big parking lot in Stinson Beach that parking was easy. We got there around 8:30 on Saturday. The fog was so thick in the morning we decided to start Dipsea-Steep Ravine instead of Matt Davis - it was still foggy at the peak we couldn't see SF and GGBridge. We were amazed how many bridges we crossed on the trail that we thought we should have counted them. Even though it was foggy in lower elevation it was sunny and hot after Pan Toll. Fern Creek Trail from the peak was so steep and exposed we were glad it was downhill instead of up. The peak was crowded but the view was amazing. It took us all day to finish but we have done it - the sea to the peak hike that I wanted to do and the experience was very satisfying.

I like this trail, but honestly the lower part without the summit is the highlight for me. After Pantoll there are some great views, but in the summer the fire road part is exposed and HOT. We had a tough time because of the heat. We did start by 830am or so, and it was lucky, because the heat slowed us down significantly and we didn't finish til early evening. Do it in cooler weather, and/or start early. Also the signage after and around Pantoll can be kind of confusing, so we took some wrong turns. Still found the summit just fine, in about the same mileage.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

This trail is closed due to fire danger :(

Friday, July 07, 2017

This hike is a game of try-to-find the trail. Look for the call box and lower your head through the brambles, and step over a steel cable. It is overgrown and takes many twists and turns. It is a bit scary trying to find where the trail is because it is not always clear. There are lots of fallen trees to navigate and you may hit your head on some of them like me. You also may get stinging nettle through your jeans, or even slip and fall on a creek rock and hit your knee while your shoe gets totally soaked. Apparently there is a waterfall at the end... we never made it. All in all, it was kind of fun if you're seeking more of an adventure than a stroll.

Absolutely beautiful. It has a confusing turnoff point before the stream, but it is worth hiking a bit extra towards that stream. The colors are mind-blowing

This trail was a great mixture of what makes theSan Francisco area amazing! Big trees, coastal chaparral, cool weather, warm weather and a great lunch break at Stinson beach!! A perfect 14 miles!!!!

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