A beautiful ribbon of sand just south of Muir Beach and west of the coastal overlook known as Coyote Ridge has started to attract clothing-optional users. "I've gone three or four times with my girlfriend, who's been visiting it for years," says Alex Towery, of San Rafael. "It's a little sandy cove and beach." The hill is the first one south of the Muir Beach parking lot. Two paths lead up the hill; one, called the Coyote Ridge Trail, is just east of the slope's ocean-facing edge, while another is between the first trail and the sea. To find this rugged, usually deserted beach, take the latter path over several ridges for about 20 minutes to the beckoning, beautiful sea.
How to find it:
From San Francisco, take Highway 1 north to Muir Beach, to milepost 5.7. Turn left on Pacific Way and park in the Muir lot (don't park on Pacific, even if you see cars there -- by the end of the day they'll probably all be ticketed). Or park on the long street off Highway 1 across from Pacific and about 100 yards north. From the Muir lot, turn left (south) and walk to the end of the public beach. "Then," suggests Towery, "take the trail that starts there along the hillside, but don't go all the way up the hill. Instead, look for a path that's just to the west of the first trail and follow it as it goes up and over two hills. It's kind of steep in parts. You can get a great view at the top of the hills. You hike for maybe 20 minutes, and then it finally goes down to a spot where it levels off and isn't so steep, and the trail takes you down to the beach."
Small but sandy. "I've gone swimming there, but it's pretty cold," adds Towery. "Just be careful of the big rocks that are on the right [north] side of the beach."
Often deserted, Coyote occasionally draws hikers who wander down its trail to the water.
Unknown legal status; steep trail; needs better directions; cold water.
Select an Area: