Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
3,089.00 ft (941.53 m)
Trail type
11.40 mi (18.35 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Dipsea and Ben Johnson Loop is located just north of San Francisco, and passes through both Muir Woods National Monument and Mount Tamalpais State Park. The trail features stunning views of the coast and nearby cities, as well as towering redwoods. This is a popular trail among locals and visitors alike, and the parking lot tends to fill up quickly - especially on the weekends. The region is known for its heavy fog, which often dissipates by noon but sometimes persists later into the day. As such, temperature shifts can be significant and wearing layers is highly recommended. Although there is some sun exposure, the majority of the trail is shaded.

The trail begins in Mill Valley, where the path descends through forested rolling hills. At the one mile point, the trail arrives at a parking lot for Muir Woods National Monument where there are restrooms and water available. Stay on the Dipsea Trail as it now ascends steadily. There are a few sections that are somewhat steep, but the view at the top of Cardiac Hill is well worth it. A gorgeous panorama of the ocean, beaches, rolling hills, and nearby cities opens up briefly, before the path descends again and is swallowed by the forest. The trail descends all the way to the turnaround point at the White Gate Trailhead. Here, hikers have the option to add another roughly three miles round trip via a detour to Stinson Beach. When returning, stay on Dipsea Trail past Cardiac Hill, and then veer left onto Deer Park Fire Road and then left again onto Ben Johnson Trail. This stretch of the trail is often less-traversed, and features old-growth redwoods. Keep right onto Hillside Trail and then Fern Creek Trail, which both follow Redwood Creek. The trail passes by a gift shop where Muir Woods souvenirs and snacks are sold. Restrooms and drinking water are also available here. Continue past the Muir Woods parking area back onto the Dipsea Trail for the last mile.

The trail can be done counterclockwise as well as clockwise. Another possible starting point is the White Gate Trailhead, which has a slightly larger parking area.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required

Open Year-round



Redwoods. Panoramic Views.


Parking can be difficult.

Trailhead Elevation

867.00 ft (264.26 m)

Highest point

1,372.00 ft (418.19 m)


Potable water
Flushing toilets
Old-growth forest
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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