Trail Run: Marin Headlands

I think it is safe to say that my husband and I are officially hooked on trail running. This past weekend we went for another trail run, or as I like to say, a ‘rike’ (run + hike…some of the ascents/descents were too steep/technical to run, so there was a fair amount of hiking as opposed to running).

This time we traveled a fair distance to the Marin Headlands. It might seem silly to drive almost two hours for a run, but we rarely get to this area and it is SO gorgeous. It’s certainly not something I would do on a regular basis, but we wanted to say that we ran in the Headlands at least once.

We started our run at Stinson Beach…a super tiny beach town about 35 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, we took the Dipsea Trail, which goes all the way from the ocean to Mill Valley if you so desire (it’s about 7 miles each way). At first the trail starts out on an exposed hill, but you quickly move into the shady redwoods. Be prepared to climb stairs. A LOT of stairs.

Rather than follow the Dipsea the entire way, we veered off on to the Ben Johnson Trail which takes you down to the Muir Woods National Monument. Pretty close to Muir Woods is Alice Eastwood Camp, just hop on to the Eastwood Trail and follow it for a mile or so. This place is pretty quiet (especially compared to Muir Woods) and there are washrooms and a nice picnic area as well as pottable water. Alice Eastwood camp is starting to climb up again from Muir Woods, and it’s neat to see how the vegetation changes so suddenly.

There are a number of trails that meet at Eastwood Camp, so you have your pick of where to go next. We took the Sierra Trail and eventually made our way to Pantoll Camp. Like Eastwood Camp, Pantoll has washrooms and pottable water, but it is pretty busy as it is right on the highway.

My husband wanted to check out the Mountain Theater – it’s a large amphitheater that was built in the 1930s. What makes it so neat is that it is built entirely out of rock. Once we climbed up top to the mountain the theater itself actually wasn’t all THAT impressive, but we were rewarded with some spectacular  panoramic views, including the ocean as well as Sausalito and San Francisco. These views are definitely worth the climb alone.

We decided to take the Matt Davis Trail back to Stinson Beach for a change of scenery from the Dipsea. As you can see in the previous photos, we were quite high up – which means there was a heck of a descent in store for us. We were pretty exhausted at this point, but luckily there was still some gorgeous scenery.

After what seemed like forever, we finally were back where we started – Stinson Beach.

In total, we went 11.91 miles. As a treat we stopped off at a Papallote in San Francisco (most amazing burritos ever), but I was so hungry and busy stuffing my face that I forgot my camera in the car. Oh well.

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