Marin Blog · Outdoor Adventures Collection

The Coastal Trail

Posted in Blogging Marin on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 by MCVB Staff

The Marin Headlands are a perfect destination for hiking any time of year. In the fall and early winter, when the weather is moody and mixed, there's no better place to take in refreshing Pacific breezes, sweeping banks of fog and wide views of the ocean and Golden Gate.

Among the myriad choices for headlands hiking, the Coastal Trail offers some of the headlands best terrain and ocean vistas. Start from the parking lot at Muir Beach (a 20 minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge). Cross the boardwalk and go left on the Coastal Trail. Follow the signs to Pirate's Cove and start climbing. After about three-quarters of a mile, the trail crests and provides sweeping vista of southern Marin's jagged coastline. After a few hundred feet, go right and uphill at an unmarked intersection. A spur trail for Pirate's Cove, a pocket beach used as a staging area for bootleggers in the 1920s, is reached in just over a mile. 

After visiting Pirates Cove (best at low tide), clamber up the wooden stairs and continue on the Coastal Trail. At the next intersection, turn left on Coastal Fire Road. In less than a mile, turn right on the Coyote Ridge Trail; then, after a few hundred feet, turn left down the Middle Green Gulch Trail with views of Mount Tamalpais. When you reach Green Gulch, veer left toward the ocean. After going through the second gate, turn left and follow the trail along a creek back to Muir Beach, a reinvigorating five-mile hike in all.


Winter hiking checklist:

Water (available at the Muir beach parking lot)

Hat and layers, especially a windbreaker or rain gear

Sturdy shoes



Marin hiking guidebook



More information on featured attractions:

blog image

Marin Headlands

For the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, make sure to visit the trails located at the Golden Gate Bridge Headquarters and part...[Learn More]

Muir Beach & Muir Beach Overlook

This year, the existing parking lot has been re-aligned to allow the Redwood Creek channel to be connected to its natural floodplain. Muir...[Learn More]

blog image

Mount Tamalpais State Park

Magnificent Mt. Tamalpais has 6,300 acres of redwood groves and oak woodlands with spectacular views from its 2,500 foot peak. It is a hikers and bikers paradise. The...[Learn More]