Hike the Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop

Matt Davis Trail, Stinson Beach, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    7.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1600 Feet

Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Hike a loop on Mt. Tamalpais covering two of the most famous bay area trails: Dipsea and Steep Ravine. Experiencing amazing views of Pt. Reyes, the Pacific Ocean, waterfalls, and wildflowers.

This loop is made up of three of the most popular Marin trails and for good reason. These trails offer not only expansive ocean views, but a variety of topography and environments. This 7.5-mile loop offers up waterfalls, dense forests, redwoods, and open grasslands overlooking the pacific. Starting from the Stinson Beach Trailhead behind the fire station, you will cross over an old, wooden bridge and begin the ascent up the Matt Davis Trail. The trek upward may feel like it never ends, but just at ~2.5 miles, you'll receive a little reprieve. Stay on the Matt Davis trail, and head to the clearing, where you can enjoy ocean views, sights of Marin and SF.

As you exit the grassland, at approximately 4.25 miles, you'll cross over the Panoramic Highway, reaching the Pantoll Campground. Keep an eye out for traffic! Once you see the sign for the Steep Ravine Trail (downhill to your right before crossing Pantoll Rd or Deer Park Fire Rd), start your descent along the canyon wall. When you reach the top of the ladder on Steep Ravine, stop and get your obligatory photo opp in. Continue on Steep Ravine until you reach the Dipsea at approximately 6 miles in.

Once on the Dipsea, take the trail the remaining mile-and-a-half back to the parking lot.

Print out the Tamalpais State Park Map before hitting the trail.

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Reviews

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September 10, 2017 8:00AM-3:00PM Did this during the heatwave hitting the bay. Started on the Matt Davis trail and did the loop. The trail entrance to the Matt Davis was so obscure and hidden. There are no signs showing you where it starts. My buddy and I walked around the neighborhood for awhile before we found it. It looks like a trail into someone's backyard and it felt like we were trespassing. The Matt Davis trail this day was so hot and dusty. I prefer the Steep Ravine part of this hike because it was cooler and more photogenic. Actually most (if not all) of those photos above are on the Steep Ravine part of the hike. Overall the hike did have a lot of variety. Ocean, beach, grassy hills, forest, steams, bridges, waterfalls, ladders.

5 months ago
5 months ago

I went to this hike in late spring, the morning make it very worthwhile while the midday it kinda dies down. I love to go again and able to catch the fog again!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is one of my favorite hikes. I like to start from the top and park at Pantoll; gives you a break at Stinson beach and a nice climb at the end to make you aware of a workout :). I also like to switch it up sometimes between going down the steep ravine or taking the Old Mine trail to the Dipsea trail and get the nice coastal views on that side; coming back up Matt Davis. Or reverse it and go down Matt Davis and come back up Dipsea, staying to the right when it intersects with Steep Ravine and come back to Panroll via Old Mine trail.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

This is a great hike. My GPS recorded 9.3 miles from starting at the firehouse to finishing at the firehouse. The beginning is all up hill, can be tough for some. You have some great views of the Pacific. When you come across the rolling hills and fields you get a wonderfully refreshing breeze to cool you off. The fields are a great place to have a snack and enjoy the view. The trail is great because you get a lil break to use the rest room and refill on water at the ranger station/campground. After that it's all down hill on the steep ravine trail. FYI- on weekends this trail can be very busy.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Love this hike. Challenging but so worth it. The switchbacks at the beginning of Matt David are particularly tough, but it flattens out for a bit before you head down through Steep Ravine. Lots of traffic on the path on the weekend too!Bring lots of water, snacks and plan to hang a Stinson for a bit afterwards. The Siren on the beach is perfect for a drink and snack at the end.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

My husband and I really enjoyed this hike. We went after two days of rain, which meant the trail was quite muddy and we had to jump over several waterfall streams, but that just made it more fun. The fog rolled in just after we arrived, so we missed the views at the top. . .guess we'll have to go back!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

This is easily one of my favorite loops in the Bay Area and it makes for a killer trail run in either direction, any time of year, and in any weather.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

This is one of my favorite hikes near the city. Yes, the drive to Stinson is pretty windy, but the hike is definitely worth it -- spanning hillsides with ocean views, tall forests, and plenty of photo ops. You'll get a decent climb right from the start so make sure you bring plenty of water and a couple snacks with you. One more thing to note, the parking near the fire station can get a little crowded on weekends, so get there as early as you can.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

I parked at the Pantoll Ranger Station and hiked down the Matt Davis trail down to the beach and then back up the Dipsea to the ranger station. I liked this reverse route because we stopped at the beach for a halfway pint break and grabbed some sandwiches and beer.

about 3 years ago
about 3 years ago

one of my go-to hikes when hosting friends from out of town. It's the perfect length for a half day of hiking followed by lunch in Stinson. I prefer starting at the Stinson firehouse trailhead and hiking through the wooded areas first; you get to finish on the downhill overlooking the ocean

over 3 years ago
over 3 years ago

I still can't believe some amazing people actually RUN this beautiful trail, as some parts are not that easy for a hike.

almost 4 years ago
almost 4 years ago

Make sure to go big on the Matt Davis and take it up the super steep last bit to the few trees at the top. View is totally worth it.

over 4 years ago
over 4 years ago

My favorite hike! Great mix of scenery and nice to get the uphill done first.

over 4 years ago
over 4 years ago

Got a bit lost. Went to Fish! restaurant after - totally worth it.

over 4 years ago
over 4 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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