Mt. Tam - Stinson Beach Hike
Stinson Beach Travel Blog› entry 12 of 18 › view all entries
Name: Steep Ravine - Dipsea - Matt Davis, loop
Elevation change: 1600, down and back up
Trialhead: Pantoll Parking Lot
Highlights: Steep Ravine Falls, Stinson Beach, views of San Francisco
The trail starts high on Mt. Tam, and follows the Steep Ravine Trail down through, well, a steep ravine, covered with big redwoods and douglas firs. The trail follows a lively creek that you will have to cross at times, so there are lots of little cascades and picturesque bridges along the way.
At about a mile or so in, you encounter Steep Ravine Falls, which is not really a great waterfall in itself, but it's fun to climb down the ladder alongside it.
Before long, you reach a split in the trail. One side goes back up to the parking lot, and the other leads down to Stinson Beach. It was such a nice day out, we had to go to the beach. Now out of the forest, the trail descends down to the beach via green rolling hills and then a shady wooded area. A little over a mile later, you cross Hwy 1, and make your way down to the beach.
Stinson beach is cute. It's too crowded for my taste (I like 'em deserted), but there's a nice stretch of sand, and fish and chips sold right out of the lifeguard station. Watch out for sharks and riptides though!
After a playing in the sand for a bit, we headed back up to Hwy 1 and to the Matt Davis trailhead that picks up behind the fire station. It's all uphill from there, up a series of switchbacks that climbs 1500 feet back up Mount Tam. There's a nice little waterfall to cool down in along the way, and some nice views as well.
Finally, the trail levels out and you come out of the woods onto an open ridge of grassy hills. After following the trail for a while, there will be a really nice view from a little split off on the right. You can see across the Bay to San Francisco from there.
The trail then winds back through the woods and back to the Pantoll parking lot.