Location : Fire Station - Belvedere Avenue , Stinson Beach CA USA
Mount Tamalpais rises majestically from the heart of Marin County. Its deep canyons and sweeping hillsides are covered with redwood forests , oak woodlands, open grasslands and sturdy chaparral. The mountain itself covers around 25,000 acres. There are about 60 miles of hiking trails, which are connected to a larger, 200 miles network of trails in neighboring public lands.
The view from the peak at 2571 feet is just spectacular. On a clear day, visitors can see the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, San Francisco and the Bay , hills and cities of the East Bay and Mount Diablo. On rare occasions, the Sierra Nevada’s snow-covered mountains can be seen 150 miles away.
We captured the pictures and maps with our DuoVeo app.
A combination of 3 trails
This hike combines 3 trails : Matt Davis, Steep Ravine and Dipsea.
Matt Davis Trail
It starts behind the fire station. Matt Davis is such a nice mix of various views and terrains, the perfect trail through a spectacular landscape.
The entire experience, from Stinson Beach to Pantoll is entertaining and beautiful. You step onto a bridge, cross a creek and you will begin the moderate ascent with occasional wooden fences. Beware, there might be some poison oak along the trail too. After a few switchbacks, you’ll emerge on costal scrub and enjoy the view west to the ocean.
Moving forward the trail heads back into the woods. Another bridge and cascades of water (in winter), then a series of steep steps guide you to a pretty spot with giant rocks.
View from the top
Continue on to reach a massive boulder, Table Rock (off trail) which provides a perfect spot for a rest or lunch stop with views to Stinson Beach.
Finally you reach grassland, and the trail climbs gently to a junction with a viewpoint encompassing the Marin Headlands, San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the coastline well into San Mateo County.
Continue through grassland and back into a woodland at nearly level grade towards Pantoll Station. At the junction to the parking lot turn left to add on the ascent to the Amphitheater which is 1.5 mile further up.
The Mountain Theatre (aka the Cushing Memorial Theatre) was built in a natural amphitheater by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The stone seating accommodates 4000 people and is the site of the Mountain Play event each spring . The performance is a spectacular, outdoor production that also nurtures an appreciation for the unique beauty of Mount Tamalpais. Quite astonishing to see such a nice and beautiful stage at this place. Quite an achievement.
Steep Ravine Trail
Steep Ravine begins at the rear left back of Pantoll Station parking lot , as a descent into a pretty redwood canyon and gets better with each step, as you descend past waterfalls , many stairs , along redwoods and down an unexpected but very sturdy ladder .
The famous ladder of Steep Ravin. This is a stopping point for sure. Children enjoy the spot.
This is the last portion of the hike. You leave Steep Ravine and left over the bridge , past an old dam. Dipsea ascends a little, crests then descends easily.
The view after the crest is breathtaking : the ocean, Stinson Beach, Bolinas Lagoon.
Dipsea descends moderately then turns into the woods with a creek on the right. Cross Panoramic Highway and pick up the trail on the opposite side to reach Stinson Beach
At the end of the day, after severals hours of hiking, back to the parking or, at this point, you may want to relax and enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach with a take out dinner and a few drinks.