Muir Beach and Overlook
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Parking
- Particularly good for families
- Beach Wheelchair
Before setting out from the parking lot, be sure to check out the tactile model (with Braille labels) of the Redwood Creek watershed that's near the restroom building. Then take the bridge across Redwood Creek to a wide dirt-and-gravel trail that soon forks. The trail to the right leads to the beach; the last few yards take you across sand on a mat that's lined by rope guides. The trail can be busy, particularly on weekends, and there is no place on the mat to pull aside and enjoy the view. To fully enjoy the beach, reserve a beach wheelchair in advance.
At the foot of the bridge If you go left instead of right towards the beach you will reach a rock drainage swale in about 300 feet that will be impassable to most wheelchair users. Alternatively you can hike a section of that trail if you approach it from the entrance road. You can also hike to Green Gulch Zen Center about a half-mile away. See trail description below.
For a panoramic vista and a chance to watch migrating whales (December–April), head north from Muir Beach one mile up Highway 1 to Muir Beach Overlook, a former Army observation post. Stairs make the boardwalk out to the westernmost point inaccessible, but views from the lot are almost as good.
Trails and Pathways
- Coastal Trail, Middle Green Gulch
- Time to Complete:
- 45 minutes
- Trailhead Location:
- Start of beach entrance road (Pacific Way)
- Trail Length:
- Under one mile total
- Typical Width:
- 4 ft. & above
- Typical Grade:
- Mostly gentle
- Moderately Firm
Exit the parking lot and travel on the road (cars go slow here) until you reach a service road on your right. Follow it a few hundred feet to an opening where there are stables. Off to your left is Middle Green Gulch Trail which passes through the gardens of the Zen Center on the way to the Zen Center. The main trail is flat and wide but paths through the garden are too narrow for wheelchairs. Continuing on the Coast Trail past the stables the trail begins a gentle climb with views of the marsh below. Birdsong was plentiful/ In less than a quarter-mile you'll reach a junction; to the right you'll encounter the same rocky drainage swale that earlier prevented passage coming from Muir Beach. The Coastal trail on the left continues to climb steeply along the ridgeline. In my motorized chair I had no problem with the steep incline but I decided to turn back after a few hundred yards because I realized that the loose gravel wouldn't give me good traction going back down the steep descent. The peacefulness on this trail was appealing but the return travel undid any calm I was feeling.
- Accessible Parking:
- Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;
Van accessible spaces are near the restrooms at the parking lots for both Muir Beach and Muir Beach Overlook
- Accessible Restroom:
- Yes – At Muir Beach and Overlook. No sinks.
- Beach Wheelchair:
- Yes – A beach wheelchair (not self-operated) is available to loan for free. Advance arrangements are necessary as you will need an access code for the locker where they are stored and cell reception at the beach may be limited. Reserve by calling the accessibility program manager at 415-561-4958. Beach chairs can only be used while visiting Muir Beach and cannot be taken away from the park to use elsewhere.
- Accessible Picnic Table:
- Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance; Just west of the parking lot at Muir Beach
- Good to Know:
- 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.