Matt Davis Trail to Stinson Beach, Mt Tamalpais State Park - Pantoll Ranger Station, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California
Matt Davis Trail to Stinson Beach - 7.4 miles
Mt Tamalpais State Park - Pantoll Ranger Station
|Round-Trip Length:||7.4 miles (additional .3 miles one way to Stinson Beach from trail terminus)|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,490' - 76' (1,574' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-1,414' net elevation loss (+1,668' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Matt Davis Trail to Stinson Beach - 7.4 Miles Round-Trip
The Matt Davis Trail offers an ecologically varied route from the Pantoll Ranger Station to Stinson Beach. Visitors will enjoy open grasslands high along Bolinas Ridge, Douglas fir forests, coastal chaparral, ocean views, and beach access:
The trail climbs a small ridge and levels into a thick fir-oak forest (.2 miles). It winds to a bridge over a steep ravine (.55 miles : 1,518') and emerges in open space high along Bolinas Ridge (1.05 miles : 1,570') .
Social trails branch off to overlooks and outcrops, but they're easy to discern from the main.
The trail curls inward twice across the densely wooded corridors of Webb Creek and Silva Gulch to the Matt Davis - Coastal Trail split (1.5 miles : 1,478').
The Matt Davis Trail veers left and drops back into the forest (1.95 miles : 1,355'). Continue straight past an unmarked fork just before entering the forest.
Grades steepen on a shifting descent through Douglas fir, laurel, buckeye and oak while edging closer to Table Rock Creek. This section of the Matt Davis Trail has been rebuilt several times, and you'll pass a number of old spurs that lead astray; remain vigilant on this fast moving segment.
Anticipate a sharp right hairpin turn (2.75 miles : 872') and follow flagged trees to another set of switchbacks aided by stone steps and wood rails.
The trail drops steeply to the marked spur for Table Rock (3.05 miles : 598'), a flattened outcrop in a small clearing with views over the lower forest and Stinson Beach area.
Forest travel resumes to a short break through coastal chaparral just above the Stinson Beach residential community (3.3 miles : 355'), where dark timber briefly yields to sunlit swathes of coyote bush, manzanita, lupine and sage before reclaiming the trail on the final descent.
The trail reaches the Mt Tamalpais Park Boundary (3.5 miles : 178') and turns left toward Stinson Beach. Travel eases to the Matt Davis Trail's southwestern terminus on Belvedere Avenue in Stinson Beach (3.7 miles : 72'). Continue down Belvedere and cross Highway 1 to access the beach, an additional .3 miles from the terminus.
- N37 54.234 W122 36.263 — Pantoll Ranger Station - Matt Davis Trailhead
- N37 54.337 W122 36.744 — .55 miles : Cross bridge in forest
- N37 54.192 W122 36.994 — 1.05 miles : Emerge from forest in open coastal hills
- N37 54.217 W122 37.246 — 1.5 miles : Matt Davis Trail - Coastal Trail split
- N37 54.200 W122 37.510 — 1.95 miles : Enter forest - begin steep, winding descent
- N37 54.170 W122 37.629 — 2.15 miles : Descent through Douglas fir forest
- N37 54.141 W122 37.819 — 2.75 miles : Sharp right turn - look for flagged trees
- N37 54.107 W122 37.914 — 3.05 miles : Table Rock spur
- N37 54.134 W122 38.187 — 3.5 miles : Turn left at sign toward Stinson Beach
- N37 53.980 W122 38.242 — 3.7 miles : Matt Davis Trailhead on Belvedere Road
- You may pick up the Dipsea Trail on Panoramic Highway in Stinson Beach and re-join the Steep Ravine Trail to form a comparably long but appreciably varied loop back to Pantoll Ranger Station.
- Look for deer, fox, coyote and turkey in the open hillsides and forest fringes of the upper trail.
- There are several false spurs off the main trail between 1.95 miles (upon entering the forest) and Stinson Beach - remain navigationally vigilant on this shifty segment.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Backcountry camping is not permitted within Mt Tamalpais State Park.
- The Pantoll Campground is located on Panoramic Highway adjacent to the Pantoll Ranger Station. It has 16 campsites, each with a table, rock barbecue, food locker and space for a tent. Phones, faucets, firewood and flush toilets are nearby. There are no showers. Sites are first-come, first-served.
Steep Ravine Environmental Campground
- The Steep Ravine Environmental Campground is located on a coastal terrace off Highway 1, one mile south of Stinson Beach. It has nine rustic cabins and seven primitive campsites. Each cabin has a wood stove, picnic table, benches, sleeping platforms and outdoor bbq.
- The cabins do not have running water or electricity. Primitive toilets, faucets, and firewood are nearby. Primitive campsites are located a few hundred yards from the parking area. Each site has a table, fire pit, food locker and space for a tent. Primitive toilets and water faucets are nearby. There are no showers at Steep Ravine Campground.
Alice Eastwood Group Camp
- Alice Eastwood Group Camp is located off Panoramic Highway on Alice Eastwood Road. It has two campsites. Site A holds up to 50 people; Site B holds up to 25 people. Both sites have tables, flush toilets, water faucets with sinks, bbq grills and a large area for tents.
Frank Valley Group Horse Camp
- Frank Valley Group Horse Camp is located 1.5 miles West of Muir Woods National Monument on Muir Woods Road. It has 12 pipe corrals, water faucets, watering troughs, picnic tables, fire rings and a pit toilet. The minimum group size is 2 horses; the maximum size is 12 horses.
- To reserve a campground visit www.reserveamerica.com or call 800.444.7275. For specific camping and campground questions, call Pantoll Ranger Station at 415.388.2070.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on the Matt Davis Trail.
- Bikes are not permitted on the Matt Davis Trail.
Directions to Trailhead
Mt Tamalpais State Park is located north of San Francisco in Marin County. The Pantoll Ranger Station is 8.5 miles from Highway 101 on Panoramic Highway. The Matt Davis Trailhead is located in the free parking area on the north side of Panoramic Highway across from the ranger station.
From Highway 101, exit Stinson Beach - Highway 1 and follow the exit ramp west .6 miles to the Highway 1 - Almonte Blvd intersection. Turn left on Highway 1 toward Stinson Beach. The road winds up the mountain to the Panoramic Highway split (3.2 miles) - veer right on Panoramic Highway (anticipate this quick turnoff).
Remain on Panoramic Highway and follow signs for Mt Tamalpais State Park to the Pantoll Ranger Station (keep straight at the Muir Woods - Mill Valley fork at 4.0 miles).
The Pantoll Ranger Station is located on the left side of the road. Main lot parking carries an $8 fee. Free but limited parking is available across the street at the trailhead.
Mt Tamalpais State Park
801 Panoramic Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941