“If you want to experience rugged California coast, this loop is perfect for you!
— Phil DiGirolamo
Views · Wildflowers
From beach level to ridgetop and descend! As you make your way along this beautiful set of trails you'll be immersed in the rugged California Coast. From doubletrack to singletrack, flat to steep, you'll be experiencing all of the things that a great route should encompass.
Need to Know
You'll be crossing private land at the Green Gulch Organic Farm. Close the gates behind you to keep unwanted grazers out.
This route is nearly 10k in length, and the hill make this a great strenuous route. Use caution on the steep sections. Pirates Cove Trail
is very popular with runners because of its location along the coast.
Start this route from Muir Beach, at the well marked trailhead near the swimming beach. As you leave the parking lot, cross the bridge and head left. Once you come to the California Coastal Trail
go right and head up the trail.
You'll climb steadily for almost a mile to meet up with the Pirates Cove Trail
. This is one of the most magnificent single rack trails along the rugged coast. As you slowly descend down to Pirates Cove, making your way down toward the water, your peek into Pirates Cove will open up. The spur down to the beach is very steep and the beach is not always accessible because of the tide or the crashing waves. Use caution here! Oh my, what a steep climb back up to the ridge. There are plenty of stairs in this section, and they are not so evenly spaced.
Once at the intersection with the Coastal Trail
, turn left and continue on past the Fox Trail
. Turn right on to the Coyote Ridge Trail
. A short way ahead and the Middle Green Gulch Trail
will appear on your left. Take this trail to descend into the Green Gulch Organic Farm. Did you find the "Hope Cottage" tucked into the hillside?
If it is a clear day, your view to the north will extend across Highway 1 to include the Dias Ridge
and Point Reyes. As you come up to the farm, be sure to close the gate behind you and leave no trace. If you have a carrot or apple, the horses there will be your new best friend. Once you leave the farm there is another gate to close. Your exit will put you right back where you started!
Notice that across the street sits the Pelican Inn, the oldest coastal inn in this part of California.
History & Background
The Green Gulch Organic Farm is a working farm with inservice programs. It is part of the Zen Retreat Center and is open to public visitors. Did you see the Hope Cottage tucked into the hill? At the Pelican Inn plan to have lunch or snack in the bar, restaurant or out on the lawn.