Above: Dipsea Stairs
Posted in Best Marin Attractions on Monday, November 18, 2013 by MCVB Staff
The holidays are upon us and an abundance of favorite foods, usually rich and filling, is about to be served. To prepare for the annual calorie avalanche, we suggest five scenic workout spots in Marin where you can get in shape before, rather than after, the holidays hit the scene.
Stair climbing: Mill Valley’s woodsy Dipsea steps present a heart-thumping opportunity for calorie-burning, cardio-conditioning and muscle toning. The three flights of steps as tall as a fifty story building start in Old Mill Park and lead to a network of trails on Mount Tamalpais, including the venerable Dipsea trail, which winds 7.4 miles through valleys and over ridges to Stinson Beach.
Beach walking and running: There’s no better strand of sand than lovely Stinson Beach for extended runs along miles of pristine seashore with clear day views of Bolinas and San Francisco. The adjacent town of Stinson Beach offers several restaurants, a small grocery store, and a handful of shops. Stinson Beach has an extensive picnic area complete with tables and barbecues.
Trail hiking and running: One of the sweetest trails for an early winter hike is the Yolanda Trail, on the north slope of Mount Tamalpais. The trail skirts the belly of 1,132-foot Bald Hill in Marin’s scenic Ross Valley. Starting from Phoenix Lake, you join the Yolanda trail just past a ranger’s residence. The trail heads through bay and oak forest to the Six Points intersection, where trails split into a wagon wheel of options. The Yolanda trail heads to the right, climbing though more forest to the intersection of Worn Springs fire road. Follow Worn Springs south for a steep but relatively short ascent to the windswept, grassy summit of Bald Mountain for panoramic views of the Ross Valley, surrounding watershed lands, the lush Mount Tamalpais ridge and in the distance, San Francisco Bay. The Worn Springs fire road descends a couple of miles back to the lake, for a total distance of just over four miles.
Mountain biking: Mill Valley’s Tennessee Valley offers a relatively easy, two-mile-long dirt road ride through the Marin Headlands to Tennessee Cove, with one hill climb along the way. Several dirt fire roads branch off for challenging ascents of adjacent ridges in the headlands.
Multi-sport: Bikers, skaters, runners and walkers looking for an easy workout will be completely satisfied with the scenic Mill Valley-Sausalito multipurpose path, which runs 3.5 miles along Richardson Bay marshlands between the Scott Valley Swimming and Tennis Club in Mill Valley to Gate 5 Road in Sausalito. Public restrooms and a dog park are available enroute.
Please also read Ben's blog on the Examiner.
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