#2: Owl Trail to Muir Beach Overlook


Maybe you know this already from my other posts but the reason I started my blog, Project Trailmix, was to inspire people. We all struggle with a variety of things in life; stress, depression, anxiety, confidence in ourselves, there are too many things to list.  But I know, and you know, that if we don’t push ourselves in a positive direction we will eventually sink into an unhappy place. That is not good!

Sooo I challenged myself to do a hike at least once a month and blog about it. This doesn’t seem like a lot to ask. This month I have done two hikes!  I really want to make a point here, everyone needs time to enjoy nature. It’s not hard to schedule in a couple of hours for yourself.

Road Block Ahead “could’ve been the theme for Saturday honestly. So many obstacles caused me and my friend to leave a lot later than we would normally for a hike that we almost had to postpone the day. But we both had this marked on the calendar for like a month. The weather was perfect and this was the only day we could dodge the rain.  We definitely had to make it work.

I quickly packed my new backpack with some essentials using, What’s in your Pack?, and I brought some extra shoes just in case it was muddy. I have never been to this trail called “Owl Trail” so I was excited. Its an out and back trail of 2.1 miles. It has an elevation gain of 278 ft.

The drive down to Marin was great there was not a lot of traffic. About 1 hour and 20 min later we get to Hwy 1 where Muir Woods is and we’re seeing sign after sign announcing that we have arrived to Muir Woods National Monument and there are so many people! All the signs say “Reservations Required” in large bold letters. There are parking attendants standing next to “Lot is Full” signs. I see people turning their cars around in disappointment.  But our GPS is telling us we still have 5 miles to go. I drive on… more cars, people, no parking signs, and even bus shuttles! This is crazy land! Not the relaxing beautiful hike I was imagining.

Eventually a couple of miles down the road I pullover in a turnout because suddenly there is only us on the road in the middle of a valley and I was getting worried I was lost. Our phones have no signal here, that’s awesome! Not really. We consult the book of trails my friend brought and it seems like we should just keep going. So we do and there are so many trails all over the place just  popping up out of nowhere with little signs. There are patches of parked cars parked haphazardly off the sides of the road and hikers with backpacks walking along seeming to be going nowhere.

I eventually just pull over since I actually found a spot to park. We were both done with the car ride and needed fresh air. The book said the trail wasn’t marked that well and was just off the road. That could literally mean any trail here. We walk and I eat a snack. It was about 12:30 by now and I was getting hungry. We walk around and see signs for trails that are not ours. Then we see a cute couple walking in the road and stopped them to ask if they knew where the Muir Beach Overlook is… no… but they had a map. The girl threw in some suggestion of getting on this trail to eventually cross over to the trail we needed. Silly us! That was a waste of a good 20 minutes before we said this trail is not right and as hard as it was, we decided that we needed to get in the car and drive further.


The Unexpected Trail


This is where we decide to start over


We drove down the road, and then turned right, up the steep curvy road that also included some road construction on a Saturday. We finally got reception back and our GPS worked again, yay! Up and around the corner and we finally saw the sign “Muir Beach Overlook”. Oh my god! What a relief!

We finally made it!!

We park with all the other cars on a steep road, since the parking lot is closed to the overlook. But I see people having picnics and walking about.  We get in the lot and stand there looking around like, ok we made it where is the trail? Then there it is,  a little two foot post that says “Owl Trail”. Yes! We can hike now!

Yes! There it is!

Let me tell you that the pictures speak louder than words.

The ocean views follow you all the way down the trail, it is beautiful. The wind was a really nice to cool down during the hike but to take pictures it was a bear.  The dirt trail was lined with bushes and the side of the mountain. There was no going off the trail, it seemed pretty dangerous.  The trail was narrow so we really couldn’t walk side by side. But it was still great. I was happy there was not anyone there.

At the top of the trail…its a long way down

The trail is narrow

We made it to the end of the trail and found ourselves in a little valley at a cute farm. There was a grove of amazing Cypress trees on the left. It was so peaceful and all you could hear was the ocean waves crashing on the rocks.

There was a cute little bird in the tree

Amazing Cypress grove

At the bottom of the trail there is a valley

I thought for a moment we were trespassing when we came to the farm.  I saw some sheep and a cute goat just looking at us walk by. Then out of the grove we saw a guy and he didn’t look at us strangely, then I saw some touristy signs like “don’t feed the sheep without staff present”.  I felt ok after seeing the “Slide Ranch” sign and realized we had come in the back door.  It was really just a cute little spot, used for school trips and such. While we were there it looked like some volunteers were doing some beach clean-up.

This guy looks like he was gonna jump

We walked around a bit and saw ducks in a pen, then went to sit off the edge of the trail in the grass to eat a snack and drink water. The wind was crazy but it was amazing to see the waves on the rocks. I had forgotten my sunglasses, this is not recommended. The wind and the sunlight just made my eyes hurt all day.

A classic shot: Two Girls and their shoes whilst eating snacks and relaxing

Waves crashing on rocks

We headed back up the hill on this other trail that went up from where we stood, instead of just the way we came in and found a meadow with grass and a yurt. I think they keep them for staff or camping rentals maybe?

It was a pretty good trek back to the top of the hill and since it was nice going down you know the struggle would be getting back up.

Heading back up

You can’t really tell until you walk over to the furthest edge of the parking lot and then you see the crazy fencing leading out to the overlook.

Crazy fence all the way down to the overlook

Old military bunkers


Can you make out the Golden Gate Bridge?

You can see all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge and the city! It is amazing! You definitely need to visit the Muir Beach Overlook and avoid the crowds just down the road at the Muir National Monument.  It took some time getting there but it was totally worth it!

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Photos taken by: Me and Mari Marron

3 thoughts on “#2: Owl Trail to Muir Beach Overlook

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