Only 20 minutes north of San Francisco by car, Mill Valley has been a backwoods celebrity get-away for rock bands such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Starship, Santana, Green Day, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker, and rapper Tupoc. Rita Abrams even created the Billboard Hot 100 hit "Mill Valley" with her third grade class, and the music video for the song showcases the park around the Dipsea Steps Trailhead.
Mill Valley's main event is a downtown brick plaza surrounded by coffee shops. Mill Valley is the touristic jump off point to Muir Woods National Monument, Stinson Beach, and Point Reyes National Seashore. There are a handful of trails that are accessible from the downtown area, and the most famous is called the Dipsea Steps. The Dipsea serves as a competitive half marathon trail run that takes place every June. Walk up Throckmorton Avenue from the Mill Valley Plaza, two blocks to Old Mill Park. That's where the redwood forest starts. At the opposite end of the playground is a wooden footbridge over Cascade Creek that leads to the entrance of a driveway that is also the start of the Dipsea Steps. Stay on Cascade Drive and walk about four blocks to another trail that leads to the child-friendly Three Wells swimming hole and Cascade Falls.