Our 7 th Annual Long Walk: An All-Day Trek on Mt. Tamalpais
Date and time: Sunday, April 30th at 8:45am
Leader: Jacob Lehmann Duke and Zeke Gerwein
Start: At the Dipsea Trailhead in Mill Valley (Cascade Ave. at Molino Rd. by Old Mill Park)
The Dipsea Trail on Mount Tamalpais is famous for the grueling race along its length every June. However, its also an ideal place to hike with its scenic views, challenging slope, and varying terrain. This noted trail will be the first leg of BPWA’s Seventh Annual Long Walk, a 15-mile adventure on Sunday, April 30.
Leading the walk will be the energetic team of Jacob Lehmann Duke and Zeke Gerwein, who also led our 2016 Long Walk through five East Bay Parks. Deft navigators and lively conversationalists, these intrepid teens always set a brisk pace.Meet them for a prompt 8:45 departure at the Dipsea Trailhead in Mill Valley, an easy 40-minute drive from Berkeley.
Our first challenge will be climbing the three sections of the Dipsea Stairs — 689 steps in all — that rival some of Berkeley’s steepest paths. We’ll descend into Muir Woods, where we can wave to the hundreds of tourists strolling on the park’s flat boardwalk before we start a 1,300-foot ascent to the aptly named Cardiac Point, the highest spot on the Dipsea Trail. Depending on the weather, we’ll get a stunning view of either the Pacific or the dramatic fog enveloping the coast. Then we will head back down into redwoods and wend our way to Stinson Beach, where we will stop for a BYO picnic lunch.
After lunch, those who have had enough hiking can hop on the West Marin Stagecoach, which will return them to within a mile of our start. Fares range from $1-$2. Hikers who are brave enough to continue will climb the Steep Ravine Trail, with its many bridges and stream crossings as well as a tricky 14-rung ladder. We will stop for a brief rest at the top of the trail, which comes out at Pantoll Ranger Station, another stop on the West Marin Stagecoach line.
From Pantoll, we will begin a relatively gentle descent on the east side of the mountain. For three miles, we’ll be on Alpine, Bootjack, and Troop 80 trails, with their canopies of trees and a few streams to cross. A half-mile stretch along quiet Alice Eastwood Rd, will get us to our final trail, Tenderfoot, whose name may well describe our feet after all those miles and a total elevation gain of 3000 feet.
“This is one of my all-time favorite hikes,” says Jacob. “The views and scenery are incredible, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel from finishing it will last a lot longer than the soreness in your feet.”
Please allow about eight hours for this hike, not including transportation time. The route will be strenuous with many uneven trails, steep inclines, and stairs. Wear sturdy boots and bring water, snacks, lunch, a hat, and jackets if needed.