A 7.5 mile (one-way) hike from Muir Woods to Stinson Beach.
Via a Yelp review. Instructions for starting at Old Mill Creek in Mill Valley and hitching a bus ride back from Stinson Beach.
- Park in Manzanita Park-and-Ride Lot (near Buckeye Roadhouse restaurant). Take 101N, exit 445B onto 1N toward Mill Valley / Stinson Beach. Make an immediate left onto Shoreline Highway.
- Take the Golden Gate 17 bus north toward San Rafael. On weekends, buses leave every hour. You can use your Clipper card.
- The bus passes what locals know as Tam Junction, Tamalpais High, the Safeway near Tam High, then heads into "downtown" Mill Valley on Miller Ave. Once you see downtown, get out at Miller Ave. and Sunnyside; after you exit, the bus will turn right. The ride is about 8 to 12 minutes.
- Now you are walking. Continue straight up Miller Ave. for one block, then turn left on Throckmorton. (If are doing this in the morning, there are three coffee shops right there: one in a converted railroad depot, a Peet's, and a roaster on the opposite corner).
- After the left on Throckmorton, continue walking on that street for about .3 miles. You'll leave "downtown" and pass some homes, then on the left you'll run into Old Mill Park. (and public restrooms, open and fairly clean). Veer into the park, or turn left on Cascade.
- Cross the footbridge... and then ... viola! there is no signage whatsoever for the Dipsea Trail! You'll see a street sign with the names of three different streets on it, however, and right behind it a steep driveway; walk up that and in a few feet, you'll see ahead of you the first of the 671 stairs (in three sets). You have found the Dipsea Trail. Stinson Beach is 6.6 miles away.
- Hike to Stinson Beach.
- Find the main Stinson Beach Parking Lot, the one right near the beach, not near "downtown." If you don't see the bus stop, walk north in the parking lot. You will eventually see signage for the bus stop, and then the bus stop itself (2 benches).
- Take the West Marin Stagecoach #61, heading east. It's like a rental car shuttle, pretty much. Last bus leaves at 5pm on weekends. Fare is $2. cash only. (NOTE: This bus doesn't seem to stop in the "downtown" area on weekends, so make sure you catch it in Beach Parking Lot).
- It's a winding, somewhat long ride. About 40 minutes. Eventually, the bus makes an odd left veer at Tam Junction, going past Tamalpais High and up to the nearby Safeway when you know the Manzanita Park & Ride Lot is the other direction. But after Safeway, it does a U-turn and the next stop is the Manzanita lot. (Note: The bus might sit at Safeway for a few minutes to get back on schedule, so if that might bug you, you could always do your initial parking somewhere near Tam High or Safeway. It looked like there were some locations not under time limits.)