We don’t complain about the rain because it was so much needed (reservoirs are full again!) and we know sunnier days will come. For the moment the sunny days arrive we want you to be fully prepared to put on your sneakers and go outside! Like, lets say, off to Marin County for a beautiful hike from the Tennessee Valley to Muir Beach.
The trail between Tennessee Valley and Muir Beach is a balm for the eyes and the soul. As well as a very good workout. It’s 9.7 miles (15.6 km) of pure nature bliss, winding up and down along the majestic Pacific Ocean on one side and (finally!) green hills on the other. The trail is easy to moderate. Sturdy footwear, water, light jacket, and sunscreen is all you need to conquer this part of the Pacific Coast Trail.We have hiked this trail many times and are sharing our perfect itinerary so you can enjoy this trek as much as we do.
Tennessee Valley to Muir Beach.
START 9 am: Equator Coffee on the Shoreline Hwy in Mill Valley
We are not throwing you into cold waters here. Before you hit the trail, treat yourself to a cup of fresh coffee, pastries or housemade granola-yogurt cups at the Equator Coffee. The little red coffee shack is a meeting point for brave bikers who bike the curvy and steep roads of California — come rain or shine. Sit for awhile at the outdoor tables, flip through the Edible Marin County edition ( they are for free) and get ready to hike.
Drive to the Tennessee Valley
On a busy weekend day the main parking lot might be crowded already in the early morning, so when you see cars parking on the side street and extra parking lots, don’t bother driving further. Just find a spot and walk the rest. In the end, your are here to enjoy the nature.
Hit the Trail
You don’t need a map (but here is one); the trail is pretty obvious. When you pass by the restrooms, just continue straight. A short part of the trail at the beginning is paved and flat. If you are not in the mood for a long hike, you can walk all the way to the beach and back — excellent for stretching your legs. This part is also great for hiking with kids and strollers.
Everyone else, follow the sign to Coastal Trail, which branches off shortly before the beach.
Now it’s real hiking time. For the next 2-3 hours, depending on your pace, you will go up and down, towards the ocean and back to the hills. On a sunny day, the colors of the Pacific and the hills are mesmerizing. But don’t despair if the fog rolls in; it’s still beautiful and with a mystical calmness in the air. Just enjoy.
Break or/and lunch time at the Muir Beach or Pelican Inn
You made it. At some point, the trail will start to ascend, and the view of the secluded Muir Beach will open up. Walk down and have a rest. You have two options. If you have brought some provisions with you, you can take a break on the beach. Eat, sip and soak in nature. If not, you just need to walk 5 minutes further down the road to Pelican Inn. A super charming old inn, which also doubles as restaurant/cafe/pub. They have a huge lawn with benches outside the building and few spots inside. The menu is small but with some delicious food. Think Shepherd’s Pie, sausages with mashed potato, mac N cheese, and salads. And for such a remote spot the prices are surprisingly affordable. You can also only have a drink and cool off your feet. We highly recommend a stop at Pelican Inn, if you get a drink you can even snack there on your provisions. Time to head back.
★Insider Tip: Make this a weekend hike and stay in Muir Beach overnight. Airbnb has some super cute places to rest, get into a hot tub and enjoy dinner at Pelican Inn. Here and here and here are our favorites.
Here you also have two options again. You can walk the same way back, or you can make a loop by going upcountry. Passing by the Gulch Farm and staying more in the hills. This way takes only a few minutes longer, but you get a change of scenery. If it’s already late afternoon, we recommend you go the same way back.
You did it! It feels good, right? And you cannot wait to do it again — we know, we feel the same. But it’s enough for one day and time to get back home. Or you can stay a little longer and grab something to eat in Mill Valley or Sausalito. Both towns have some great food spots. In Mill Valley, we cannot get enough of the chicken salad at Sol Food. I don’t think we have ever tasted a more tender chicken. It’s the real deal, friends. And if you are in the mood for something seafood-y, The Fish in Sausalito is your destination. They are famous for their Dungeness crab roll (comes with a huge portion of fries) and the clam chowder shouldn’t be missed either.
That’s your Tennesee Valley to Muir Beach hike itinerary. All we have to do now is to wait for the rain to stop. And when you go out, tag us on Instagram. We are @californiaweekend, and our hashtag is #californiaweekend. We would love to see your adventures.
Kristin HanesJanuary 5, 2018
Ack this is NOT part of the Pacific Crest Trail! That goes through the Sierra Nevada.
Ana KaminFebruary 13, 2018
We have updated it. Thanks.
Isaac G.February 7, 2018
Nice write up Ana. One correction though. It is part of the Pacific Coast Trail through California that is only complete in about half of the state. People are working to get the rest funded. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through the Sierras and goes from Mexico to Canada.
Ana KaminFebruary 13, 2018
Thanks so much for the correction! I appreciate it and updated the post. 🙂
KevinMarch 21, 2018
For a new SF resident looking for a simple hike to see what all the hype is about – this post was an awesome find. Thanks!!
Ana KaminMarch 21, 2018
Happy we could help! 🙂