Northern California July 30, 2018
This Stunning Staircase Hike Through The Woods In Northern California Is Worth Every Step
Located in the quaint but beautiful town of Mill Valley is an iconic hike that definitely belongs on your bucket list. This hike is so famous that there’s actually an annual race that occurs on the trail every year. The Dipsea Race is considered the world’s oldest trail race and it is a treasured tradition in the Bay Area. However, this hike is just as fun to complete at a leisurely pace. In fact, that’s how it
should be enjoyed so you have enough time to truly appreciate all of the breathtaking sights. This staircase hike is lengthy, but trust us when we say it’s definitely worth every single step!
You'll find several places to hop on the famous Dipsea Trail throughout Mount Tamalpais State Park. However, the "real" trailhead can be found within Old Mill Park, located just past downtown Mill Valley.
The 7-mile-long Dipsea Trail is famous for one thing in particular—stairs....lots and lots of stairs. You'll be doing a lot of climbing on this trail so be sure to pace yourself! However, you'll find that every step is worth it as every inch of the trail boasts an abundance of natural beauty.
Lace up your sturdy hiking boots and be sure to bring lots of water. The first mile of the trail alone boasts 688 steps. However, the fairytale-like forest landscape makes for a pretty amazing setting to hike in. The views of the towering redwoods really help to distract you as you set off on the trail.
As the trail meanders out of Old Mill Park, you'll be taken into the depths of the utterly gorgeous Muir Woods. This stretch of trail is considered one of the steepest (it's lovingly referred to as "Cardiac"). Leisurely strolling through this section is one thing, but it's another thing entirely to think that people actually race through it!
Fortunately, the high point of the trail is located along this section so you can rest easy knowing it's all downhill from here. This section is also one of the most scenic, boasting babbling streams, moss-covered trees, and plenty of shade.
This trail isn't messing around. There's a lot of steps and a lot of elevation gain in a short period of time. However, the beauty is unparalleled. On the plus side, you can always hop onto the trail at different areas and complete short sections at a time.
At around Mile 5 of the trail, you'll start being treated to glimpses of the coastline through the redwoods. This is also where the steps will start to make their descent. Just a couple miles to go and you'll be home free!
You'll know you've made it when you approach the Mile 7 Marker. You'll start to approach the lovable little town of Stinson Beach where you can stop for a bite to eat as a reward for the long journey you've just accomplished. Remember to dip your toes in the ocean before heading into town.
The Dipsea Trail should be a bucket list item for all Northern Californians. Keep in mind that you'll have to arrange transportation once you arrive at Stinson Beach unless you want to make the hike back (this is aptly referred to as the "Double Dipsea").
There sure are a lot of stairs to traverse on this trail and your calves will definitely feel it. However, the stunning ocean views and forest landscape are
so worth it, don't you think?
Have you completed this iconic staircase hike? The beauty is truly never-ending! Be sure to check out these
11 Trails In Northern California You Must Take If You Love The Outdoors for more unique, must-do trails.