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3 Beach Loop Hike (Muir Beach to Tennessee Beach)

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

This is an "off-the-beaten-path" coastal hike in Marin County, that takes you to 3 lesser known, yet beautiful beaches, with jaw-dropping views at every turn. The trail is fully unshaded, so it is best to hike on a cool fall day or in the springtime. The hike was a total of 7.5 miles with 2440ft of climbing (as per my AllTrails navigation), and is pet friendly. With all the climbing, the hike falls somewhere between moderate to strenuous category.

The trailhead starts at Muir Beach parking lot. On a Saturday, at 9am, we found ample parking, with restrooms available. After enjoying a breakfast-to-go of Dianda's famous Almond croissant and tea, we set off to follow the California Costal Trail, which is part of the Golden Gate National Parks system.

The first of the 3 beaches you see is, of course, Muir Beach. It was hardly crowded, even at 1pm, on our return.

After passing the Muir Beach intersection within the first 0.25 miles, the trail starts getting steep, as it goes over a hill, and then back down to the second beach, Pirates Cove. We got to enjoy expansive views of the ocean as we climbed downhill. Pirates Cove is a remote beach, and access to it from the trailhead is very steep and rugged. So we decided to save our energy for the remainder of the hike.

Steep downhill to Pirates Cove

Starting from Pirates Cove, the trail once again climbs steeply over a second, bigger hill, until it flattened at the top. We took a short break here to catch our breath, and of course, for some photo ops.

Our way down to Tennessee Valley was on a fire road, which led to the secluded Tennessee Beach. This beach, once again, had just a handful of sunbathers but was empty otherwise, on a warm Saturday afternoon.

This is a great place to take a break, eat a sandwich and catch your breath before the hike back up, over the 2 hills yet again. The midday sun made the hike back to the parking lot harder than before.

After we were done with the hike, we also checked out Muir Beach Overlook, which is a few miles drive from the parking lot, and provides a complete view of the Point Reyes Peninsula. This Overlook also has historic significance as it has several lookout bunkers where soldiers watched for ships, during the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

View from Muir Beach Overlook

At the end of it all, this hike was quite a workout, but the amazing views and the cool weather made it all worthwhile.


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