Saturday, April 23, 2016

Rodeo Beach to Muir Beach, Marin Headlands

JC & JK3 recently got together in California and hiked from Rodeo Beach to Muir Beach, ate brunch at the Pelican Inn, and then hiked back.

This incredibly scenic hike in the Marin Headlands has two big ups and downs with 600-800 feet of elevation change. You can eliminate the biggest one by starting at the Tennessee Valley Trailhead instead.

As you can see on the map below, our route out varied a bit from the route we took back and each way had its pros and cons. The way out was a little longer and had more elevation change, while the way back involved a steep, challenging section that I don't recommend for inexperienced hikers or people with kids.

Going out: There is a big uphill from Rodeo Beach to Battery Townsley and beyond. We followed signs for the Coastal Trail, which is wide and even paved in places here, and then turned left onto the Wolf Ridge Trail which is dirt, single track, somewhat steep and can be slick due to loose grit, fine gravel. After a big downhill into Tennessee Valley, we crossed a small stream and a trail to the beach and then took a left followed quickly by a right to get back on the Coastal Trail.

From here, the trail heads up another big hill and then back down around Pirate Cove. The last stretch into the Muir Beach area is somewhat level before heading down. You can go left to the beach or right to go more directly to the Pelican Inn, which is a fantastic place to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner or grab a beer before turning around.

On the way back: After checking out Muir Beach and later along the trail accepting plastic eggs with candy from an adult wearing large bunny ears, we took a trail down to Tennessee Valley Beach, crossed the stream, and took a somewhat difficult to follow, incredibly steep and windy section of the Coastal Trail to get back up to Battery Townsley. This area has a maze of trails that wind through interesting old military buildings and tunnels. After doing some exploring, we headed down the hill to the parking area feeling tired, but accomplished.

Rodeo Beach

Paved Section of Coastal Trail

Just 482 miles to go!

Approaching Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Banana Slug Taking it Easy

JC's Breakfast of Champions
(well a small part of it)

Elevation Profile. High Point of 850' at Turn for Wolf Ridge 

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