This tour of Mount Tam's western slopes takes you up a dark ravine filled with ancient redwoods which to grassy meadows with knock-out ocean views.
Start this loop at the small parking lot on Panoramic Highway. If that parking is full, look for parking in town or at the large parking lot at Stinson Beach.
Take the Dipsea Trail
east, heading first up a small but pretty canyon and then through coastal scrub with excellent views of the Pacific - look out for poison oak here. Cross a dirt road and continue to the intersection with the Steep Ravine Trail
. Take the Steep Ravine Trail
uphill, away from the ocean, through the surprisingly lush redwood canyon along Webb Creek. There are a few waterfalls here, and about halfway through, a particularly steep section of the trail has a ladder to climb. Continue on the Steep Ravine Trail
as it climbs out of the canyon into a more open forest. The trail ends at Pantoll Ranger Station.
From Pantoll, cross Panoramic Highway, and find the Matt Davis Trail
. Take the trail west (left). The trail enters the forest, but soon emerges onto a grassland that - on clear days - offers spectacular views of the Pacific. Stay on the Matt Davis Trail
as it switchbacks through mixed evergreen forest down to the town of Stinson Beach.
The Matt Davis Trail
deposits you on Belvedere Avenue. Take Belvedere Avenue left past the fire station, then turn left on Highway 1. Find the sign for the Dipsea Trail
on the left side of the road and take the trail a short distance back to your car.