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Pets allowed
No
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
0.00 mi (0.00 km)
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It isn't possible to walk from the Muir Beach Overlook to the Steep Ravine Cabins via Highway 1, or at least it hasn't been since the State of California has been spending $60,000 per day to fix the road. That section of Mount Tamalpais State Park, between the Muir Beach Overlook and Steep Ravine Cabins, including the Muir Woods National Monument, is one of the most beautiful parts of Mount Tamalpais. There are multiple ascents through the woods to get from one side of the hill to the other, but the most scenic is to walk past Muir Beach, into the Muir Woods National Monument, and then up the Bootjack Trail to the Pantol Ranger Station, and then back down the Steep Ravine Trail and end up at the cabins and Stinson Beach.

The Steep Ravine Trail is one of the highlights of the mountain due to its hydroelectric-dammed swimming hole, ladder, and historic stone steps. The Muir Beach Overlook is well-built and gorgeous, with a clear 180-degree view of Marin's best coastline (though the bluffs of Drakes Beach that can be viewed from Chimney Rock is a close second). To begin, walk down through the Muir Beach neighborhood to the Pelican Inn Bar and take the Redwood Creek Trail to the national monument. It costs $10 to get into Muir Woods National Monument, which is a loop trail through a grove of massive redwood trees. The trees have a base of about 10 feet across on average. Less than 1,000 years ago, the Mewok people burned dwellings into the base of the trees that can still be seen today. They would sleep inside the trees, five at a time, side by side for warmth.

The Muir Woods Loop basically consists of a Main Trail and a Hillside Trail. The Main Trail is a boardwalk along the edge of Redwood Creek where tourists can get an intimate view of the redwoods; the Hillside Trail helps visitors understand the woods are situated in a valley with steep terrain. The Ben Johnson and Bootjack trails both lead straight off from the rear of the Muir Woods Loop, and both go to the Pantol Summit Ranger Station and Campground. The Ben Johnson Trail goes through old-growth redwoods up on top of the ridge; while the Bootjack winds along the edge of Redwood Creek with plenty of places to sit and cool off in the water. Many families and adventure seekers at Muir Woods choose a loop that includes taking the Fern Creek Trail to Lost Trail and then Back down the Ocean View Trail. At the top of the loop, the Panoramic Trail connects to the Panoramic Highway parking lot across the street from the Mountain Home Inn Bar.

The national monument can be accessed for free from the trailhead at the Panoramic Trail. From Pantol, it's easy to visit Bolinas Ridge, a larger than life system of grassy knolls on top the mountain's summit that overlook Point Reyes National Seashore. The Steep Ravine Cabins are located at the bottom of the Steep Ravine Trail, and they are intended for car campers. They don't guarantee mattresses or window blinds for privacy. There's also no shower. Running water and firewood with wheelbarrows are included, however. The wood bundles cost $8 cash. The driveway gate at Steep Ravine locks at sundown, but the camp is only a 30-minute walk to the community of Stinson Beach, a massive 5-mile expanse of sand with a market and several restaurants.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Beautiful views. Historic area. Educational. Old-growth forest.

Cons

Long drive. Difficult parking. Crowds. Entrance fee.

Trailhead Elevation

145.00 ft (44.20 m)

Address

Muir Woods Rd
1
Mill Valley, CA 94941
United States

Features

Historically significant
Rock climbing
Waterfalls
Whale watching
Wildlife
Bird watching
Old-growth forest
ADA accessible
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

10/08/2017
Steep Ravine Cabins is completely fenced off by the California Highway Patrol to hikers and bicyclists due to road work in front of the campground entrance. The road is only accessible by car; Warnings, tickets and worse are being issued to hikers who tress pass inside the work zone. This is a new, temporary change, that could last until summer 2018. It's no longer possible to access Stinson Beach by foot via the Steep Ravine Trail; however, the Dipsea Trail forks off from the Steep Ravine Trail close to the coast. The Matt Davis Trail can also be accessed at the Pantoll camp ground and that trail drops straight down the face of Mount Tamalpais into downtown Stinson Beach.
These photos of the Steep Ravine Cabins and Stinson Beach were taken on more or less the same day as the above photos.
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