Found on the eastern slope of Mount Tamalpais, the Matt Davis Trail takes you from the Pantoll Ranger Station in Mt. Tam State Park to the Pacific Ocean at Stinson Beach. From the trailhead at Pantoll the route is a bit under four miles to the beach. With varied and hilly terrain, it's not a fast hike or run, though. (If you want to put your feet in the sand, you'll also have to walk through the town to the beach once leaving the trail.)
As you travel along the trail, you'll go through grasslands, wildflower meadows, a tall redwood forest and along the coast. Well before you reach Stinson Beach, you should have sweeping views of the water. Experienced hikers can make a loop by combing the Matt Davis Trail with the Steep Ravine Trail and Dipsea Trail to create a true wilderness adventure. Or, simply do an out-and-back on Matt Davis for simplicity's sake. The variety will keep you moving either way to see what’s around the next bend.
In the winter, the waters of Webb Creek run high and you can hear waterfalls thunder before you arrive at the cascades. In the summer, the Pantoll trailhead is popular and often crowded, so you may want to head out early or late to miss the crowds. Don't forget to bring water and food, though, or it could be a long day.