Hiking with Old Friends

Hiking this Mount Tam classic is like hanging out with three old friends. Dipsea is popular with everyone,…

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Hiking this Mount Tam classic is like hanging out with three old friends. Dipsea is popular with everyone, and just gets better with age. Steep Ravine is gorgeous and challenging (and you wouldn’t have it any other way). And Matt Davis, well Matt’s laid-back, sometimes a little dark but with brilliant bursts of brightness. Yes, this 8-mile hike is one to return to year after year. There are multiple ways to start this iconic hike, but it’s kind of nice to get the uphill out of the way first. Do this by beginning at Stinson Beach. The Dipsea Trail is the first leg. You’ll find the trailhead off of Highway 1 just north of the Panoramic Highway intersection. Hike on it for about a mile, until it connects with the Steep Ravine Trail. This is the challenging, uphill part of the hike. Fortunately it stays beside Webb Creek nearly the entire way, until reaching Pantoll. Along the way you’ll climb the famous 10-foot ladder. Fill up your water bottle at Pantoll before continuing across the highway and onto the Matt Davis Trail. Traversing 1,500 feet high on Mount Tam, you’ll wind through forest for the first 1.5 miles before breaking out to panoramic views of Stinson Beach, San Francisco, and Point Reyes. Finish by weaving through a Hobbit-esque forest of ferns, Douglas firs, and oak trees. Ahhh, friendship.

POST-HIKE TIP: The Parkside Café is located right on Stinson Beach. On sunny weekends, the line can be long. But if all you want is an ice cream, go to the ice cream counter to the left of the main café. It’s a much shorter line to refreshment!

Stinson Beach can get packed on the weekend. We recommend arriving early or later in the day. No dogs on the hiking trails. 

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