The Best Big Hikes in the Bay Area

Matt Savener
10 min readFeb 13, 2023

I love a good 4-mile weekend hike with the dog. But occasionally, I crave something more: to hike hard all day, to conquer something big, and to be so tired I can barely move afterward.

That’s the kind of day that proves what my body is still capable of and reminds me that I’m still alive.

These are my favorite hikes over 10 miles (all with considerable elevation change) in the Bay Area so far.

(All photos by me.)

1. Double Dipsea + Muir Woods

14.5 miles, 4.5k gain/loss

This is the coolest hike around for a lot of reasons. Let me count the ways:

  • It follows the route of the oldest cross-country race in America, a truly masochistic affair where they start the slowest runners first.
  • It starts in central Mill Valley amid the redwoods, passes through several ecosystems, offers terrific views throughout, and turns around at the beach, where you can dunk your sweaty feet or even go for a swim in the chilly Pacific, if you dare.
  • It passes right through the headliner for old-growth redwoods in the Bay Area, and there’s no need for parking reservations at Muir Woods if you hike there.
  • You don’t even have to pack a lunch. In Stinson Beach, you can grab a sandwich and drink from the grocery, or have a full sit-down at one of the restaurants.
Steps out of Mill Valley
Approaching Stinson

Tips:

  • Navigate to Old Mill Park in Mill Valley for your starting point if you want to do the full race route. There’s street parking nearby.
  • Coming out of Mill Valley, you’ll climb the infamous…

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