Dipsea Trail

Point to Point

Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, CA

8.4 Miles
Elevation (Gain)
2049 ft

Elevation Profile

Except for the places where I got lost and rerouted, this is the course for the oldest trail race in the US. I first heard of it when I saw the 1986 movie On the Edge, featuring Bruce Dern, which is set on a renamed version of the trail.

It starts in Mill Valley, skirts the south side of Mount Tamalpais and ends near the ocean at Stinson Beach. It's stunningly beautiful and mostly forested.

For years I've been visiting the Bay Area and northern California in general to play music, and I've always wanted to run this trail, but it never worked out. So I saved it for a vacation, when I could get dropped at the beginning and picked up at the end.

The trail starts with several sets of stairs, and somehow I got off the course between stairs and ended up doing a long detour. There was another re-route when the trail passed through Muir Woods National Monument, so I ended up doing an extra mile.

The ascent was pretty brutal, but descending on slick, rocky and rooty terrain was what really made it so difficult. Anyone who can run the entire descent has my respect.

Here's the trailer for On the Edge. Not available for streaming anywhere, as far as I can tell.

Note on elevation profiles: I'm still working on extracting better data from my Garmin files.

Dipsea Trail sign