Route of longtime Mill Valley–Stinson Beach race isn’t for the timid but rewards perseverance.
With 688 stairs in the early going, an incline later on known as Insult Hill, and the aptly named Suicide Shortcut, the 7.1-mile one-way route of the annual (since 1905) Dipsea Race is not for the timid but rewards perseverance. The race’s website provides turn-by-turn directions from downtown Mill Valley to the trail’s Stinson Beach terminus. Most serious Marin hikers have braved this right-of-passage trail through redwoods, meadows, and coastal scrub to the Pacific Ocean at least once.
Tip: If you’re going hike the Dipsea round-trip, get started early.
Difficulty level: Challenging.
Why locals love it: Rugged terrain; mix of inland and coastal scenery; sense of accomplishment.
Cut to the chase: Do the full Dipsea one-way. After lunch in Stinson Beach, take a bus or call a ride-share service to get back to Mill Valley.
Reward yourself: Have some ice cream at the Parkside Café‘s snack bar; stay for a slice of pizza or a full meal if the Dipsea has left you famished or you’re hiking back.
From downtown Mill Valley take Throckmorton Avenue southwest to Old Mill Park and turn left (continuing southwest) on Cascade Drive. In less than 500 feet you’ll be at the rotary intersection of Cascade Drive, Molino Avenue, and Cascade Way. The trailhead stairs are about 125 feet farther along at the end of Cascade Way.
Dipsea Mill Valley Trailhead
Cascade Way, west of Cascade Dr. and Molino Ave., Mill Valley 94941
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