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Muir Beach and Overlook

Redwood Creek tumbles down from the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais through Muir Woods, reaching the Pacific Ocean at Muir Beach. Although the creek's watershed is tiny––less than nine square miles--it harbors incredible biological diversity, including endangered coho salmon and California red-legged frogs. The National Park Service has done extensive restoration work designed to return the creek and its floodplain at Muir Beach to a more natural condition--work that has also improved accessibility. As a result, this little gem of a beach is even more of a delight to visit.

Before setting out from the parking lot, be sure to check out the tactile model (with Braille labels) of the Redwood Creek watershed that's near the restroom building. Then take the bridge across Redwood Creek to a wide dirt-and-gravel trail that soon forks. The trail to the right leads to the beach; the last few yards take you across sand on a mat that's lined by rope guides. The trail can be busy, particularly on weekends, and there is no place on the mat to pull aside and enjoy the view. To fully enjoy the beach, reserve a beach wheelchair in advance.

If you go left instead of right at the fork, a one-mile loop trail may be accessible during dry weather. Shortly after the fork you cross a rocky drainage that is likely to be impassable in wet conditions, then travel along a marsh, looping back to the parking lot via the narrow (and often busy) entrance road.

For a panoramic vista and a chance to watch migrating whales (December–April), head north from Muir Beach one mile up Highway 1 to Muir Beach Overlook, a former Army observation post. Stairs make the boardwalk out to the westernmost point inaccessible, but views from the lot are almost as good.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Beach Wheelchair: Yes

Call at least five days in advance to reserve: 415-561-4958, or send an email to Federal Relay Service numbers:
(800) 877-8339 Federal Relay Service
(877) 877-6280 VCO
(877) 877-8982 Speech to Speech

Accessible Parking: Yes

Van accessible spaces are near the restrooms at the parking lots for both Muir Beach and Muir Beach Overlook

Accessible Restroom: Yes

At Muir Beach and Overlook. No sinks.

Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes

Just west of the parking lot at Muir Beach

Other Things of Interest

Every autumn thousands of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) embark on a once-in-a-lifetime migration to the California coast. Wintering monarchs can sometimes be found decorating Monterey pines in the small grove at Muir Beach; look for their distinctive orange and black wings. (Source: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy)
Accessible picnic area
Accessible picnic area (Eileen Ecklund)

Features icon key

  • Beach Wheelchairs Available
  • hiking
  • particularly good for families
  • picnic

Additional Information

View Map  
Managing Agency: Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Address: Highway 1
Phone: (415) 388-2596
Fees: None
Dogs: In restricted areas
Currently dogs are allowed off leash (under voice control) on the beach and on leash on the trails. Call in advance to confirm, however; the GGNRA is in the process of revising its dog management rules.
Public Transportation: Marin Transit
Useful Links: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Reviewed by Eileen Ecklund, December 19, 2013
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

Accessible Restrooms Icon looks like a women and men restroom signBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing