Hike the Steep Ravine Trail via Pantoll Station

Steep Ravine Trail from Pantoll Station, Marin

For science fiction fans this trail will remind you of Middle Earth from the Lord of the Rings. I dub this trail the rock star of mossy Bay Area places for its abundance of mossy trees, lichens and ferns. Also, there is a cool ladder to climb down in the middle.

The trailhead Pantoll Station is easy to find on GPS and there are friendly rangers there as well to answer questions.

Maps: Paper map are available at the trailhead Pantoll Station in Marin, CA.  

For a moderate hike, I suggest going the one and a half miles down the trail to the ladder and return. There will be downhill switchbacks getting there and uphill on the way back. It's three miles roundtrip. There are logs along the trail if you are looking for rest spots. The trail follows a beautiful creek with mossy trees and ferns the whole way.

For a more challenging hike here are some options:

1) Down Steep Ravine Trail from Pantoll Station to where the trail meets the Dipsea Trail, and return back up Steep Ravine. (Approximately five miles and 50% uphill.)

2) Down Steep Ravine Trail and follow the Dipsea Trail to Stinson Beach. At Stinson Beach, locate the Matt Davis Trail behind the fire station at the end of the short block. Follow Matt Davis back uphill to Pantoll Station. Matt Davis will take you back to where you started. (Approximately seven-eight miles and uphill). Check out the Matt Davis - Steep Ravine Loop for more details on this hike (Note: this write-up has you starting at the Matt Davis Trailhead near the Stinson Beach fire station). 

Dogs: Not allowed on this trail. 

Weekend Crowds and Parking: Summer Weekends are crazy busy. Arrive before 9am if you can. Parking can be hard to find after 11 am. There is parking along the side of the roads, which is okay if you don’t mind walking along the road with cars passing by. 

Pack List

  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Water Bottle
  • No Hat Required as it's under trees
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RT Distance 3 Miles
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Forest
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Fern Gully meets the Beach

This was an excellent hike! I would recommend taking the Steep Ravine Trail to Dipsea trail so that you're adventure ends at Stinson Beach! This trail was "easy" going out, relatively speaking since it was all downhill, but the way back was a challenge for sure! Just the right amount though. The ravine runs almost the entire way down the trail, so it's a constant beautiful view and the redwoods around there are of course lovely too. One suggestion, maybe bring a wallet/cash with you so that you can grab a snack or ice cream at the little cafe by the beach before turning around to finish the second half of the hike.


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