2016 has started off with a bang: two celebrities dead, a contest of insanity and loudmouthed-ness (read the never-ending American elections) and of course blizzard Jonas pounding east coast like its nobody’s business. Amidst all of this California continues to be awesome with its mild (slightly more rainy than last year) winter charm intact and surprised us with a gorgeous, sunny Sunday after days of wet, cloudy, damp weather. We made lots of hay while the sun shone and drove off to the north of Golden Gate Bridge to explore Muir Beach Overlook, one more gem in Marin.
Muir woods, named after revered environmentalist John Muir,is the insanely popular Redwoods forest in the Marin headlands where all tourists make a beeline for. Muir beach is the lesser known adjacent sandy stretch and has a beautiful overlooking point which reveals a breathtaking scenery of the jagged California coastline and crashing waves. Best of all, the overlook and the adjacent trails are dog-friendly.
There is a small parking lot at the entry way to the lookout with steps leading up to it. Please watch out for posted signs and do not cross fences since there may be wildlife and nesting birds. There is a long, winding trail that takes off from the very right of the landing (parking area) and runs all the way up to Slide ranch, an educational farm which conducts summer camps and family programs to connect children and adults to sustainable farming and agricultural practices to foster greater awareness for food. Visiting is by appointment only. Post the ranch, the trail leads all the way up to Stinson beach, another wildly popular and dog-friendly beach in Marin.
A few things to note:
A) Dogs should be on leash on all roads for traffic but they are OK off-leash and on voice command (if they have good recall) on trails which are secluded. We spotted deer crossing the trail and although Babu barked at them (Tucker is the epitome of peace and quiet), we held on to him so that he wouldn’t chase the deer away, who anyway ran as fast as possible hearing him bark. So its better to leash them anticipating such circumstances.
B) Please pick up after your dog, because that is the most responsible thing to do.
C) The overlook is fenced on all sides, but small dogs (20 lbs or less) can easily wiggle below the fence and might fall of the cliffs. If your dog does not have good recall manners, please do not take him/her off the leash.
D) Please obey all posted signs and stay on the trails!
We had a great time visiting Muir beach overlook and I highly recommend it to all bay area dog lovers as well as nature lovers and hikers.The hike though tedious is of moderate energy and the winding trail does not have much of an elevation. The outlook boasts of beautiful sunsets and the landing area is the perfect spot for a picnic. For more information and rules, visit the website here.
Post hiking, you can reward yourself with some great pizza at Tony Tutto in Mill Valley (accept cash or local checks only), which serves pizza so good that you will end up licking your fingers. They have tons of vegan and vegetarian options and so are universally lovable! They also have an outdoor seating area and their own tiny parking spot. For more dog friendly hiking spots and outings, read all my pet-friendly posts here.
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