Great Marin County Hikes – Dipsea Trail

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.

Most serious Marin hikers have braved the right-of-passage Dipsea Trail.

Dipsea Details

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.

Getting Here

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

More Hikes Locals Love

Abbotts Lagoon
Battery Mendell to Battery Townsley
Coastal Trail to Bass Lake and Alamere Falls
Coastal, Wolf Ridge, Miwok Trails Loop
East Peak Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais Muir Woods Loop
Olompali State Park
Rodeo Lagoon to Point Bonita Lighthouse
Rodeo Lagoon Trail Loop
Roy’s Redwoods Open Space Preserve
Steep Ravine to Matt Davis Loop
Tennessee Valley
Tule Elk Preserve


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