Hike the Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop

Matt Davis Trail

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.

Pack List

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RT Distance 7.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1600 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

It was ok

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.

Morning better than midday

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!

A Go To

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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