There is so much of natural beauty around San Francisco that it feels almost criminal to not explore it. Although S would rather sleep his weekend away, his better and infinitely hyper half, aka me, gets him up and going based on my findings of secret hiking trails and beaches of the week. 7*7, the online magazine on everything San Francisco and the Bay area is a repository of information and has the latest article on escapes from the city, one of which is a secluded black sand beach in Sausalito, a charming coastal town in Marin Headlands, north of the city. We left in the morning, stopped by Sausalito to get sandwiches from Sausalito Gourment Delicatessen (they have a beautiful little outdoor garden seating area but no pets allowed there, boo!) and then headed off to find the beach.
The black sand beach is indeed very secluded and hidden from prying eyes (thank goodness for that since heaven knows how crowded SF and Marin beaches are) since its off a dirt trail which comprises a good, steep hike of 0.3 miles. The best way to find it is mentioned here. Dress in layers since it might get cold at the beach (although that was not the case today) ,wear proper footwear and do not lug anything heavy (although an empty beach is very tempting to carry a picnic hamper to have a good time) since the hike is a bit daunting. The beach is not dog-friendly but we missed the sign (we were a wee bit excited to discover the entrance in one go!) and found out later, so I do NOT recommend taking your pooch there although if you Google black sand beach, you will find several reviewers stating that they have seen dogs at the beach simply because it is so empty and desolate that the few there do not seem to mind. Plus, the beach is not an ecologically fragile area, so I am guessing the reason pets are not allowed on the trail is because it is so steep and the beach area is a high surf zone. Babu was on a leash almost all the time and we sat very close to the stairs leading to the beach in one corner so that he wouldn’t disturb anybody. This place is also nudist friendly due to its secluded nature, so if you want to avoid the clothing optional memo, do not venture towards the ends where they are resting/nesting in the rocks/alcove.
After hiking through flights of super steep stairs and rickety wooden planks, we finally descended on one of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches ever. Lush black sand greeted us, along with tranquil waves and beautiful vistas of the ocean and rocks, with a silhouette of Point Bonita lighthouse in the distance. The best part was the desolation-there was hardly a soul around. We sat close to the stairs leading down to the beach and Babu, the beach bum, sat pretty tight next to us most of the time or was under strict parental supervision when he ventured afar. Lunch was on the beach and after some lounging, we called it a day.
The hike back was pretty uneventful. As we walked back up, we saw a steady stream of people hiking down (perhaps the secret is no longer safe and this beach too will get super crowded in future), most of them pretty excited to see Babu huffing and puffing up the trail. We drove through downtown Sausalito, simply to find it incredibly crowded and then headed back to the city. Read our other dog friendly adventures in Sausalito here.