Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
2,500.00 ft (762.00 m)
Trail type
2.00 mi (3.22 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.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass



Close to San Francisco. Lovely old-growth forest. Good food options.


Expensive. Difficult to find. Difficult parking.

Trailhead Elevation

80.00 ft (24.38 m)


Old-growth forest

Suitable for



Nearby Lodging + Camping


These photos are of Old Mill Park's Fall Arts Festival. This is right across the street from the base of the Dipsea Steps. It costs $10 to get in, $5 for students and seniors and free for kids; with a playground, activities, magic show etc. There's also food, beer and coffee, etc. It's possible to buy an awesome, hand made kaleidoscope for about $30.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.