Contributor: heyitsbryanm
Mar 03, 2021


The Dipsea Race, for which the path is presently celebrated, is the second most seasoned foot race in America. The Dipsea Trail, which runs from the small Marin County enclave of Mill Valley right to the Pacific Ocean, includes about 688 steps for just the first mile and will take you through 2,000 feet of height gain.

While marginally demanding, this out-and-back path closes at Stinson beach, permitting you to rest and appreciate the waves after a long climb.

It also permits you to circumvent the difficult-to-reserve parking system required to visit the famous Muir woods.

This itinerary assumes that you have a car and are able to drive, which is the best way to enjoy this itinerary. Otherwise, there are public transit options for getting to and from Stinson Beach from San Francisco and the surrounding area. Find up to date transit data on Google.

Find parking at Stinson Beach

On a busy day it can be extremely difficult to find parking at Stinson Beach. My recommendation is to park near the entrance which is a little farther from the beach. On your way back, you can simply move your car closer to the beach.

Hiking time

Dipsea Trailhead

Once you've parked, you can find the path at this map marker. If you followed the instructions from the previous step, you should be extremely close to the trailhead entrance.

Close to the beginning of the trail and after crossing a bridge, you'll start ascending a very narrow path of stairs. There are points along the stairs for you to allow others to pass.

There's a very picturesque grove here filled with trees which looks like a mini forest.

The Veteran's Bench

Veterans' Bench

View to Veteran's Bench

If you're feeling tired, take a seat and enjoy the view. You can refill water nearby here and read some of the history behind the trail.

Almost there...

You know you're almost at the location when you see this plank crossing the river. Take a right to visit Muir Woods.

Muir Woods

If you've still got some energy, consider going into Muir Woods.

Once known as Redwood Canyon, this park is home to old forests of transcending redwood trees, diverse natural life, and stupendous perspectives. What's more, if that isn't sufficient to bait you in, they have a great coffeehouse with an enticing determination of light snacks and beverages.

The entrance fee is $15, but if you're feeling tired feel free to skip. As beautiful as Muir Woods is, it's a lot of walking to cram into a single day.

Another option is to start this itinerary in reverse, starting with Muir Woods to Stinson Beach and back. This allows you to catch Muir Woods at its best, when the sunlight is gleaming between the trees.

Hike back the way you came

Time to hike back the way you came! The great thing about this is that you get to experience many of the views you didn't see while hiking through the trail.

Stinson Beach

Now that you're done hiking, reward yourself with a dip into the Ocean at Stinson Beach.

Other pit stops

There's a few other stops that don't require too much effort to check out. You can choose to replace Stinson Beach with one of the stops below, or you can add any of these to your itinerary to close the day out with a gorgeous west coast sunset.

Muir Beach Overlook

Muir Beach Overlook

The Muir Beach Overlook rests north of Muir Beach, CA. It's a breathtaking stop that most voyagers drive past without even noticing. A short path leads out to a cliff sitting above the Pacific Ocean with 400 feet underneath it. Not far from the parking lot, a rocky but fenced off point can provide views towards Muir Muir Beach and the town itself. Close to the parking lot you can discover four historic structures once utilized as posts to distinguish any approaching aircrafts and ships to bases close by San Francisco.

Battery Spencer & Golden Gate Overlook

Battery Spencer

In the event that you're searching for that often-photographed view of the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the background, then head over to Battery Spencer. This perspective gives a stunning view of the bridge on top of a now retired military post. Whether you're catching sunset or whether the night's already come, I recommend stopping by for the view.

That's all folks!

You've reached the end of this post. We hope you enjoyed this itinerary. Cheers!