Step On Up: The Hidden Stairways of Mill Valley
Marin County — with it’s Pacific coastline, National Parks, Redwood forests, headlands, and hiking trails — is famous for abundant nature and magnificent views. But there’s another, equally compelling, side of Marin County to include on your itinerary: the towns of Marin.
Depending on how you define a town, there are 20+ in Marin. The smallest is Dogtown with a population of 30 and the largest is San Rafael with a population of almost 60,000. Most agree that one of the most charming and quintessentially Marin towns is Mill Valley.
While downtown Mill Valley looks like it’s straight out of a movie set, it functions like the perfect modern-day small town. Great restaurants and shops, music and entertainment, and a public square all work together to create an energetic and easy vibe.
As much as we love hanging out downtown, we equally love heading into the neighborhoods via the hidden stairways and paths of Mill Valley. Mill Valley has 175 heritage stairways, lanes, and paths meandering through the residential areas of town. In fact, one of the stairways starts on the property of Mill Valley Inn, bordering the Creek House.
If you’re not staying at Mill Valley Inn, you can park downtown or you’ll find street parking within the blocks surrounding downtown (be sure to plug your meter). Pick up a map of the the paths, lanes, and stairways at the Chamber of Commerce or the Mill Valley Library (worth a visit on its own! Trust). Or download this guide. And here’s some history.
Select your route or simply meander from marked path to marked path for a true insider’s look at the historic cottages, grand homes, pocket gardens, towering Redwoods, and special way of life in this charming Marin County town.