Muir Beach and Ridges Loop Hike

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May 2, 2004

Outline and Background

A moderate hike in the Marin Headlands. Map(s) of perambulations below.

Planning and Route Description

The weather was predicted as sunny and warm with possible fog and cool. As this was to be a moderate hike, the possibility of warm weather on the sunny Headlands trails was bearable. A closed loop, suitable for poking around and looking at flowers, from Muir Beach, across the coast to Coyote Ridge, across to Dias Ridge and back down to the trailhead.

Hike Description

After meeting at West Circle, we drove to Muir Beach, early enough to avoid the crowds and traffic on a beautiful Sunday. We started up the Coastal Fire Road, then branched off on the Coastal Trail, with its ups and downs to Pirates Cove Beach, where we stopped for a bit to identify (1), then went down to the pocket beach. After that we climbed up to the Coyote Ridge Trail, eating trail side strawberries. Identified (2) at the junction, and saw a particularly good Bush Monkeyflower nearby.

Now on a fireroad, we climbed up to the Green Gulch Trail, followed that as it contoured around the north side of the ridge, and turned off onto a little used track that wound through moist gullies and eventually up to a high saddle on North Coyote Ridge. Lots of head high poison oak there, also a variety of interesting plants. We stopped for lunch and identified (3) at the high saddle, before dropping down to the Miwok Trail, just short of the Highway 1 crossing. The Miwok Trail climbs to the Dias Ridge Fire Road, where the blackberries were starting to ripen, although the full bounty was still unripe. Nearing the last knob, we stopped of identify (4). The Dias Ridge Spur Trail took us down to Highway 1, and the final bit crossed the Green Gulch Farm and edged the marsh back to teh trailhead.

Plant Identifications

"Leaves hairy?"

1 - Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus - Common Snowberry

2 - Sidalcea malviflora ssp. malviflora - Common Checkerbloom

3 - Cerastium arvense - Field Chickweed

4 - Camissonia ovata - Sun Cup

You'll pardon our pleasure at keying stuff out.

Summary and Technical Details

The hike was planned to be about 7 miles, estimated to have a total ascent of 1500-2000 feet. Probably ended up a little short of 7 miles, with 1900 feet of ascent.

Weather and Conditions

The weather was warm to hot, with no trace of fog, some breezes on the ridges in the afternoon. The trails are generally in good condition, with some overgrowth on the Green Valley Connector. Plenty of wildflowers, although the sunny sides and ridges are drying out.


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Map of hike location and route detail maps, route in blue and purple

Map with route

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Muir Beach and Ridges Loop / Robert Parks / / revised May '04