Located on the Pacific Coast three miles west of Muir Woods, Muir Beach and Muir Beach Overlook should be part of any Marin visit.
Muir Beach and the Muir Beach Overlook
Both Muir Beach and the Muir Beach Overlook are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the National Park System. Muir Beach is a sheltered cove that has a sandy beach. The approach is strikingly beautiful with a creek and nearby dense woods providing opportunities to view wildlife, such as monarch butterflies in the pine trees, salmon in Redwood Creek, and frogs in the marsh, as well as foxes, birds, deer, and coyotes on the hills! Horses and dogs are allowed on the beach and some trails. The Muir Beach Overlook used to be a U.S. Army coastal observation post and has spectacular coastal views. If you are lucky you can watch migrating whales in the winter.
Muir Beach is a quiet cove, beach, and lagoon favored by locals. Located on the Pacific Coast three miles west of Muir Woods, Muir Beach is accessed over a 450-foot-long pedestrian bridge that connects the parking lot to the beach, the Coastal Trail, and Kaashi Way, which is multi-use and accessible.
Tips and Highlights
- Always watch the waves. There are no lifeguards at Muir Beach.
- The northernmost end of the beach is popular with clothing-optional sunbathers.
- Redwood Creek Lagoon and the surrounding riparian area provide critical habitat for coho salmon and red-legged frogs and is closed to all access.
- Every autumn thousands of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) embark on a once-in-a-lifetime migration to the California coast. Wintering monarchs can sometimes be found decorating Monterey pines in the small grove at Muir Beach; look for their distinctive orange and black wings.
Muir Beach Overlook
Provides expansive views of the Pacific Coast, including the Point Reyes Peninsula. Visitors can also explore several historic base-end stations, and observation posts that were part of the San Francisco Bay coastal defense system. From this vantage point, soldiers could view ships through telescopes, and plot their distance, speed, and direction to aim nearby coastal defense guns that protected the area from invading warships in the 1900s.. Today, an iconic staircase that leads down to the small overlook has been shared online thousands of times.
Tips and Highlights
- Avoid the overlook trail if you’re scared of heights. Cliffs along the Rocky Point coast are isolated and very dangerous. Use caution when hiking
- Cell phone coverage is not reliable. Rescue crews are further away.
- The overlook picnic site is scenic but windy, so remember to carry layers and hold on to your paper plates!
- Whale Watching: Muir Beach Overlook is one of the many spots along the parks’ coast for whale lovers to catch a glimpse of these giant marine mammals as they swim by during their winter migrations.
Muir Beach and the Muir Beach Overlook stand as a tribute to the unspoiled beauty of California’s coastline, offering a peaceful respite and a chance to reconnect with the natural world. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply someone in search of tranquility, these spots provide an unparalleled opportunity to experience the majesty of nature, just moments away from the city’s edge. It’s a place where every visit enriches the soul and reminds us of the enduring beauty of our natural world.
Information provided by the NPS
You have two fun tour options that include Muir Beach and the Muir Beach Overlook:
3 Hours Morning or Afternoon – Includes Sausalito and Golden Gate Bridge. Perfect for up to 4 Adults plus 2 children
Ultimate City Tour plus Giant Redwoods, the bayside town of Sausalito, and Golden Gate Bridge Tour with your own guide in an open-air Jeep. 6 Guests per Jeep – perfect for up to 4 Adults plus 2 children. 7 Hours