Home of the sweeping hillsides, redwoods, oak woodlands, open grasslands and more Mount Tamalpais State Park forms the heart and soul of Marin County.
With the tribe junior members out of school for summer, it was but apt to spend some time exploring the wonderful nature around us. What better way than to spend some time in the Redwood forests of California.
Tribe decided to be at Mt Tamalpais State Park, this time around we parked near the Pantoll Campground Ranger Station with the aim to go through the Matt Davis, Steep Ravine loop through Stinson Beach. It is also possible to start the hike from the Stinson Beach and run reverse to Pantoll campground and back. The Pantoll Campground is located on the Pantoll Rd off the Panoramic Highway. This is a popular location, hence arrive early, tribe was lucky to get a stop as someone pulled out and were ready to go home after their camping trip.
Starting across the road is the Matt Davis trail, we were a bit lost and took off on another trail which was not well maintained and ended in a short distance. Thankfully we realized early and retracted ourselves back, the Matt Davis Trail is well maintained hence look for it and follow towards right from the main road. The interesting thing about this trail that it forms a route that can be ecologically enriching of lush green redwood forests, streams, waterfalls, ocean views with beach access and amazing flora in a crisp shady setting for most parts of the trail.
Overall this is moderate to steep, the trail stays very interesting as you pass through redwoods, ocean views, meadows, logs that you can rest on, fresh smell of the redwood forest, ferns and some banana slugs. There will be numerous switchbacks and flight of stairs that will take you down towards Stinson Beach. On the way down we lost a jacket which had our car keys, so had to climb back up and find it about half a mile away. Tribe’s plan was to hit Stinson Beach and head across to Siren Canteen, a popular shack on the beach with the most amazing tacos and shakes. That was going to be our lunch and treat for having done half the hike. Siren Canteen is located across the street behind the parking, on the beach. Lovely to see people enjoying at the beach, playing volleyball and some just making sand castles.
Dipsea, Matt Davis and Steep Ravine for the most popular trails of the Bay Area, a must do 👌
Heading back we took the Dipsea Trail to Steep Ravine back into Pantoll which starts close to the fire station on the highway. Bonus excitement for the tribe on this trail was all the streams, bridges, mossy trees, trickling water and a ladders. This iconic ladder sits right next to a small waterfall and stream flowing through the redwoods, which needs to be crossed skillfully. The RT can take anywhere between 4-6 hours, accounting time at the beach and Siren Canteen. Also summer is a popular time for this very shaded trail which has such great adventure built into these 7 miles.
Something for all skill levels, highly recommend this journey!! The tribe keeps going back to Mt. Tamalpais State Park for different variations of the route, trails, seasons and this places always amazes us.
Learnings from the tribe - “Its the not the Destination, It's the journey.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, couldn't be more apt for this journey