Hikers heading for the 7.5-mile Dipsea Trail from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach this summer will encounter a detour, as the City of Mill Valley is in the midst of the final phase of the Dipsea Steps Renovation Project, as championed by the Dipsea Race Foundation.

The project, which focuses on the second of three flights of stairs between Marion Way and Hazel Avenue, began earlier this month and is set to finish in mid-August, City officials say. The 680 famed Dipsea Steps are arguably the most daunting feature of the iconic Dipsea Race, which features sections named Insult Hill, Windy Gap, Cardiac, Suicide, and Dynamite, a reminder that there’s virtually no respite in America’s oldest trail race.

Over the past 10 years, the 20-year-old Dipsea Race Foundation has sought to renovate all 680 of the legendary Dipsea Steps, one flight at a time, as part of its mission ”to inspire our community and beyond to support the tradition of the Dipsea Race, the maintenance of the Dipsea Trail, and the legacy for current and future generations.”

They started with the top flight of 151 steps, and in 2011, finished the first and longest flight of approximately 300 steps from Cascade Way to Millside Lane. Each of those campaigns were driven by sponsors who sought to honor and memorialize friends and family with plaques on stairs. The Dipsea Race Foundation continues to seek sponsors to help fund the final phase of the renovation by reserving a step with a personalized plaque. The plaques require a minimum deposit of $500 as part of a tax-deductible donation of $1,700.

“We’re thrilled at the support we’ve received to date on the renovations of the first two flights, and we’re excited to finish this work to ensure that future generations of runners and hikers can safely ascend and descend the stairs along the Dipsea Trail,” says Foundation Board Chair Mervyn Regan.

For more information, contact Dipsea Stairs Renovation Project Manager Eric Ellisen at (510) 637-8693, email eric@dipseafoundation.org or contact Julie McClure in the City of Mill Valley Public Works Department, (415) 384-4820.

The 411: Go here if you’re interested in becoming a Dipsea Steps Renovation Project sponsor. You can email donations@dipsearacefoundtion.org or mail a check to Dipsea Race Foundation, P.O. Box 10, Mill Valley, CA 94942. MORE INFO.

Want to know what’s happening around town? Click here to subscribe to the Enjoy Mill Valley Blog by Email!