Dipsea OR Double Dipsea Trail Hike- Mill Valley to Stinson Beach

  • May 4, 2014 · 9:00 AM
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Hello Hikers! This is an epic Bay Area Hike, beginning from Old Mill Park in Mill Valley all the way out to Stinson Beach! Lovely scenery with lush, shaded forests, and beautiful views once you reach the Ocean. Hikers will have the option of doing a shorter, 7.4 mile hike, which is the single Dipsea Trail or a longer, 14.8 mile hike, which is referred to as the Double Dipsea (the Dipsea Trail plus the same in reverse to get back). Those who choose the shorter 7.4 mile hike can take a shuttle from Stinson Beach to get back to the cars near Old Mill Park. People actually do this as a trail running event in early June, but it is also a trail that hikers are fond of. I'll be doing the longer 14.8 mile hike, and you are welcome to do whichever option suits you best.

I am putting this up early so people can plan ahead. Also, there is significant elevation gain/loss and seriously steep stairs are part of this hike, so you will need to be in very good cardio shape to do it. In fact, there are over 600 stairs!! Some sources have said 676 while another I found says 688. No matter, that's a lot of stairs to climb! Climbing stairs wherever you are, doing hikes on a regular basis, walking on treadmills on inclines, cycling, and running are all great ways to prepare for this beautiful North Bay hike.


Ideally, we'll do the hike and have lunch together when we arrive to Stinson. We can take short breaks on the way if needed. After we eat at Stinson, those who want to leave can get the shuttle, and then those who want to do the Double Dipsea trail hike will hike back from Stinson to Old Mill Park. There are plenty of restaurants in the area, so afterwards, both groups can get a bite to eat as a group if people want to do that. If it is raining moderately or heavily that day then this hike will be rescheduled for the next weekend that is available. There are parts of this hike that can be dangerous in the rain, and safety, as well as fun, is a top priority. Hikers should bring the following:


-2 liters of water (highly recommended if you're doing the Double Dipsea; if you're doing the shorter single Dipsea you may be able to get by with 1 liter). Hydration bladder, Nalgene, platypus, whatever works best for you.

-Daypack (18L to 30L is a good size)

-Headlamp (it will be staying lighter out until later in the evening, but always a good idea to have)

-First aid kit with band-aids, gauze, tape, sports wrap for ankle/wrist injuries (I will have one on me, but it's always wise to bring your own first aid supplies)

-Lunch & snacks

-Layers (it may get cool in the forest areas & windy by the ocean. Weather varies often in the bay area). Softshell, light fleece, light down sweater over your tee shirt are good examples of upper layers. COTTON IS NOT RECOMMENDED. 

- Lace-up Hiking boots OR trail running shoes & socks. Your footwear should have good, sturdy traction.

-Trekking poles (optional). Some people hate 'em, some people love 'em. I recommend bringing collapsible poles since they will be very helpful in certain sections, but totally unnecessary in others (i.e. the stairs), when you'll want to stash 'em in your pack.

-Personal medications (ibuprofen, salt pills, etc.)

If you are not dressed appropriately for the conditions and do not have adequate hydration or adequate footwear at minimum then you will not be able to do this hike with us. 

Mileage: 7.4 single Dipsea Trail/14.8 Double Dipsea Trail

Elevation Gain: 2,056 single Dipsea Trail/4,112 Double Dipsea Trail

Difficulty: 6/10 Single Dipsea Trail, 8/10 Double Dipsea Trail 

Hope to see you there!




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  • Clark F.

    Really great nature and challenging but doable trail. Great list advice but confused at fork in trail. No one waited and alone for several hours.

    May 4, 2014

    • Alex

      So sorry you missed the rest of us. I realize there were a few forks- on one of them we made an arrow out of sticks. I realize this: http://www.dipsea.org...­ would probably have helped! Since it doesn't get extraordinarily hot during the summer, I may post this again.

      1 · May 4, 2014

    • Clark F.

      Alex thanks for the reply! It was still fun and I appreciate you tried

      May 11, 2014

  • Chris

    I got a late start... But I'm on the trail headed towards Stinson hoping to intersect the double Dipsea group soon! I'm in a blue ice breaker and a red cap ;)

    May 4, 2014

    • Alex

      Hey Chris, sorry you got a late start. I was going to do the double but opted for the single since that's what everyone else was doing & I realized I had something to do at home after that couldn't wait. Hope you enjoyed the hike, though.

      May 4, 2014

    • Chris

      Thanks, Alex. Amazing hike! I made it to Mt Tam and back to Mill Valley... I'm sure I'll do it again! And hope to join the group for another hike soon

      May 4, 2014

  • Clark F.

    Hey we are here but where do we meet?

    May 4, 2014

  • lia

    Sorry to back out last minute y'all-- got into a bike accident and gotta take it easy on my new lil concussion. Have fun!

    May 3, 2014

  • Charles J.

    I'm still in the throes of a head cold, so I'm reluctantly going to have to pass on this one. I'm sure it's going to be quite a lovely adventure!

    May 3, 2014

  • Madeleine

    Last minute I know... Does anyone by chance have a spot in their car leaving from SF? I'd love to join (for one-way) if so! Cheers.

    May 3, 2014

  • Marcella

    Ive been fighting a cold all week, so someone can have my spot..

    May 2, 2014

  • Kate

    Yep, I too would love a ride from SF (or East Bay BART) if anyone's got space in their car.

    April 12, 2014

    • Kate

      Thanks for your offer. But after rereading the description, I am not fully ready for this hike!

      April 30, 2014

    • Marcella

      No problem, I may pass as well :-)

      April 30, 2014

  • Ari

    Looking for a ride from SF too....please.

    February 10, 2014

    • Ari

      Hi Manson. Glad that you are going! Let's stay in touch.

      February 11, 2014

    • Ari

      Manson, thought I would check in more about this weekend. Which hike are you thinking? How do you want to do meet-up?

      April 29, 2014

  • Michael D.

    shoot..i'll be out of town.

    April 12, 2014

  • Marcella

    I'd love to carpool from the east bay! Ill be doing the single route. Who's up for carpooling?

    April 2, 2014

  • Joju V.

    I need a ride from south bay I'll chip in for gas. I plan to do the double.

    March 28, 2014

  • Cameron

    I'm hoping somebody can give me a ride from SF or a nearby BART stop.

    February 5, 2014

  • Joe

    I'll be trained up and ready to go! Anyone looking for a "guest", hit me up!

    December 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds great.
    My dyslexiais interferring with me understanding. Help please..
    So "oneway" on the single Dipsea trail to the ocean is 7.4 miles, it round trip hike would be 14.8 miles and the double Dipsea trail hike would be 29.16 miles round trip... Right... ?

    1 · December 22, 2013

    • Alex

      The Double Dipsea is doing the Dipsea trail twice, from Mill Valley to Stinson and then back to Mill Valley, so that's 14.8 miles r/t. The 29.16 mile round trip would be the quadruple dipsea (yes, there are people who have actually done a quadruple dipsea trail run).

      1 · December 22, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      thank you for the clarity

      December 22, 2013

  • Alex

    I'm doing the double. I put this up a little later in the spring because I want to make sure that I am 100% at full capacity to be doing those steep stairs going downhill in the forest section. The prognosis as of today looks very good!

    December 22, 2013

  • Rickey H.

    Unless something changes, I'm in!!! I might even do the Double Dipsea Trail hike!! :)

    1 · December 22, 2013

  • Michael D.

    As long as I'm in the country I'll be there. Unfortunately I am not sure if I'll be in the country and probably won't know until around March.. and OF COURSE I'm doing the double!

    1 · December 22, 2013

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