Coastal Trail Hike

Coastal Trail Views

There are sooo many things I LOVE about living in the Bay Area. I could ramble on all day about the numerous things, but the two that I was reminded of while hiking two weekends ago are the pleasant year-round weather and the amazing natural beauty.

Ever since I moved here eight and a half years ago I’ve been completely smitten; so smitten that I practically kiss the ground on which I walk every day in appreciation for how glorious it is. So smitten that I’m okay with the fact that Alex and I have been outbid on several houses by waaaaay over the asking price. I get it. Everyone else is just as crazy smitten and wants their piece of the Bay Area too. And, to me it’s worth it. It’s worth it when everything else here creates so much intense joy. It’s a kind of happiness that feels like a warm blanket as it swells around my heart giving me a sense that all is right in the world. At the same time this happiness produces flutters of excitement in my heart like a teenager in love for the first time. These two feelings coupled together create such an intensity bursting from my core that you just may find me doing heel clicks as I hike down the trail.

Muir Beach EntranceTo soak in all of this amazing natural beauty and experience the fantastic February weather (both of which produce those intense feelings of gratitude), Alex and I went on the Coastal Trail hike in Marin; just 20 minutes outside of the city. The hike starts at Muir Beach.

Muir Beach BoardwalkAfter disembarking from the car we walked through the parking lot heading south. We walked over the boardwalk, took a left (going right will take you to the beach), and then started to make our ascent over Muir Beach.

Muir Beach from Coastal Trail

After huffing and puffing our way up the hill, we were graced with a view high above Muir Beach. This too took our breath away, but in a completely different way.

Coastal Trail Hike

When we glanced to our left, southward, we saw more gorgeous coastline. We kept hiking for a mile or so with significant elevation changes keeping our hearts pumping until you we started to make a side-trip down to Pirate’s Cove. Apparently Pirate’s Cove was a staging area for bootleggers in the 1920s, but I can’t quite imagine why when it seems like such an inconvenience to get there… or perhaps that’s precisely the reason?

Pirates Cove WavesAs we made our way down to the beach, I enjoyed watching the waves come crashing to the shore. Farther out, you can see a wave hitting that large rock in the center.

Pirates Cove Waves

And then make its way closer to shore covering the nearby rocks.

Pirates Cove Waves

As the water swishes around lapping against the rocks it lends itself to a soft, foamy look.

Pirates Cove Waves

And then, finally, the water recedes back to the ocean exposing all of the newly wet, shiny rocks.

Alex at Pirate's Cove

Before heading back up the hill, Alex climbed on this rock and tested his balance in what he likes to call “crane pose” even though there is an actual yoga pose already with that name and it looks nothing like his version. I think he’s going to have to come up with a better name :P

The couple in the photo asked me where the Cove was and I said, “Isn’t this it?” “Ah, you’re as lost as we are,” was their response. Well, I didn’t really feel all that lost, but their comment left me questioning whether we had truly reached Pirates Cove. There was no sign saying so, but no other path down to a beach that we came across…unless we missed something.

Me and Alex on Coastal Trail Hike

As we made our way back to the main trail by climbing many steps two women approached us and asked if we wanted a picture of the two of us and, of course, we took them up on the offer.

Coastal Trail Cliff Marin California

We continued on and eventually came to this plateau where we could see for miles and miles in several directions. Here the trail appears to lead you off the cliff.

Pathway to the Edge

Eeeek! Probably not a good position for those who have a fear of heights.

Alex on the edge of a cliff

Here you can somewhat see how much Alex is on the edge of a cliff and how far down it is.

Lunch on the Coastal Trail

We decided to sit down for a mid-hike lunch break while soaking in the expansive views.

Lunch on the Coastal Trail

It was so peaceful.

Coastal Trail Views

I could have basked in the sun all day admiring the impressive vista.

Coastal Trail Views

Yep. All day.

Others Lunching on Coastal Trail

A few other hikers had the same idea, but by then it was onward for us so we set out back on the trail and came across another trail map.

Coastal Trail MapIf your eyes are sharp enough you may be able to see the trails we took. We started on the far left at Muir Beach and hiked along the Coastal Trail, took a quick detour down to Pirate’s Cove and then continued on Coastal Trail and stopped for our lunch at the point where it says: “YOU ARE HERE.” This is where we turned inland on Coastal Fire Road and took that loop around back to Coastal Trail. As you can see, there are many possibilities for longer hikes. This particular route was roughly around 5 miles.

Hiking Coastal Fire Trail

This is the beginning of Coastal Fire Road.

Cyclist on Coastal Fire Trail with San Francisco in the Background

When I turned to look to my right, I was taken aback by being able to see the tallest skyscrapers in the city peaking out between the dip in the hills. I’d love to see this view on a clearer day.

Hiking Coastal Fire Trail

We continued on Coastal Fire Road and, despite appearing to be inland, it still offered stunning views of the mighty Pacific.

Hiking Coastal Fire Trail Overlooking Muir Beach

It wan’t until we kept descending for miles that I realized just how much we had climbed during the first half of the hike. No wonder it kicked my ass.

Hiking Coastal Fire Trail Overlooking Muir Beach

As we connected back with the Coastal Trail we saw our launching point, Muir Beach, and continued down the hill to our car. Overall, this was an awesome hike and I highly recommend it. In fact, I want to go back and explore other trails. We were in a time crunch this particular day to look at open houses for those unreasonably expensive homes I mentioned earlier. But these sorts of adventures are a good reminder of why we live here and why the cost of living is so, understandably, high.

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6 Responses to Coastal Trail Hike

  1. Anni Gregor says:

    What a nice hike!!! I love all the pictures you took and the many comments Christina.
    What a treat to walk along side with you and Alex.

  2. Dana says:

    We loved visiting the Bay Area, so I can understand completely why you’re so smitten with it! (Plus, I feel the same way about living in Victoria– heel kicks and all! How fortunate are we to live in such amazing places?)

    The hike looks magnificent! Marty and I have been doing our fair share of exploring lately, and it’s always nice to revel in the beauty of Mother Nature. Love it!

    • Christina says:

      Awww…it warms my heart to hear you and Marty have been exploring Mother Nature a lot recently! I know you guys have just as much natural beauty to experience and feast your eyes on up there. I can’t wait to someday visit your neck of the woods!

  3. Lucille says:

    Nice pics and always fun to see what else the two of you are up to.

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