Dipsea, Steep Ravine and Matt Davis Trail Loop

A good friend of ours is moving back to the East Coast this week. She wanted to spend one of her last few weekends in California seeing some sights. It’s a long drive to Stinson Beach (from almost anywhere), but this hike was a great choice. It has redwoods, waterfalls and ocean views. All very California. Continue reading “Dipsea, Steep Ravine and Matt Davis Trail Loop”

Cataract Trail Loop

Cataract Falls is a mile long series of small cascades, tumbling through a steep redwood-lined gully in the Mount Tamalpais watershed.  The Cataract Trail loop is about 7 miles, beginning at the falls and ending at the falls.  This is the kind of trail that’s perfect for a rainy day when you’re itching to get outside. Continue reading “Cataract Trail Loop”

Mt Tamalpais via the Steep Ravine Trail

If you wanted to, you could drive almost to the top of Mt. Tamalpias. But if you want to really climb Mt. Tam, then start from the ocean. This hike leaves from Stinson Beach and climbs the Steep Ravine trail up to East Peak, then loops back on the north side. The grand total is over 16 miles, and a few thousand feet of elevation gain.


Basics:  This hike climbs from Stinson Beach to the East Peak of Mt Tamalpais.  It’s a long one – we hiked it as a loop totaling over 16 miles round trip.  We reached the top via the Steep Ravine Trail, Matt Davis Trail and Old Railroad Grade road.  We returned on the International Trail, Northside Trail, Bay Area Ridge Trail and Matt Davis Trail (among others).  Mt Tam has an amazingly large and well developed network of trails and roads.  There are many options.  Everything is well-signed, but unless you know where you are going, bring a map! Continue reading “Mt Tamalpais via the Steep Ravine Trail”

Jack London State Park – Mountain Trail

We hiked the Mountain Trail towards the top of Sonoma Mountain – a seven mile hike with over 1500 ft of elevation gain. It doesn’t quite reach the top which is outside of the park boundary, but it’s nonetheless a great hike.


It has been far too long since we’ve had a chance to get out and hike.  Work and other commitments have taken up way too much of our time.  We have plans to go to Yosemite in a few weeks – let’s hope the government is back up and running by then.

While visiting friends and family in Sonoma County last weekend, we made plans to stop at Jack London State Park.  We hiked the Mountain Trail towards the top of Sonoma Mountain – a seven mile hike with over 1500 ft of elevation gain.  It doesn’t quite reach the top which is outside of the park boundary, but it’s nonetheless a great hike. Continue reading “Jack London State Park – Mountain Trail”

Mariposa Grove to Wawona


Basics: This 6 mile trail near Yosemite’s southern entrance connects the Wawona Hotel to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. From mid-spring until the first snowfall, a free shuttle bus runs between these two locations, so this hike can easily be done one-way only. Alternatively, one could hike out and back for a total of 12 miles. The loops around Mariposa Grove are several miles long- so this could potentially make for a very high mileage day. It’s all uphill from the Wawona Hotel to the grove, so naturally we decided to be lazy take the shuttle to the grove, then walk downhill back to the hotel. Continue reading “Mariposa Grove to Wawona”

Garrapata State Park Loop


Basics: This 4+ mile loop trail in Garrapata SP goes from coastal chaparral to grassy hills with epic views to dense redwood forest.  Parts of the trail are really steep, but the ocean views and springtime wildflowers are enough to keep anyone going.  We added a side trip to Doud Peak, making this a 6 or 7 mile hike.  Doud Peak was not worth the extra effort, but more on that later.  This hike would be nice any time of year, but it’s especially pretty in the spring when the plants are still somewhat green and the wildflowers are blooming.  It’s also a great workout if you are in the area and want to hike something that won’t take all day. Continue reading “Garrapata State Park Loop”

Double Dipsea Hike

Basics: The Dipsea Trail is a 7 mile trail running from Mill Valley through Muir Woods and Mt Tamalpais State Park all the way to Stinson Beach.  It is home to one of the oldest trail races in the country – the Dipsea Race – first run in 1905.  With two cars (or a willingness to research bus schedules), the trail can be hiked one way.  If transportation options are limited, it’s possible to hike the entire trail out and back for a total of 14 miles and 4400-ft of elevation gain. Continue reading “Double Dipsea Hike”