Monday, May 16, 2011

Paradise Found - Black Sands Beach in the Marin Headlands


Two Sundays ago Nic and I headed across the bridge for a trail run in our favorite playground,the Marin headlands. Instead of our usual Bobcat Trail run we decided to do something new and headed across the street from the Bobcat parking area to try out the Coastal Trail. As we started up this new trail an older man stopped us to ask if we knew how to get to "Black Sands Beach." We did not, so we apologized and headed up the trail. Of course once we got 100 yards away and the man was out of site we reached a fork with a big sign pointing up towards a "Black Sands Beach." Oops. We couldn't help the guy but we figured it must be something worth seeing so we re-routed, turned right and headed uphill to see the beach. After a quick 5 minute hike upward we hit this view...


From there we took a steep staired path downhill to this beautiful cove...


The stairs wind down until you literally jump to the sand on this gorgeous secluded beach...


One other family was enjoying a picnic with their dogs on the beach and I desparately wished we had brought our picnic, blanket, bathing suits and books to lounge on the beach for the rest of the day. Now that I know how quick the hike is to this little gem I will definitely be returning for a day of sunbathing and relaxing!

To get there yourself here are all the hot details...

Directions from San Francisco:
-Go north on highway 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge.
-Take the Alexander Avenue exit (second exit after crossing the bridge). Stay to the right on the exit ramp to get onto Alexander Ave. Turn left on Bunker Road (a brown sign saying “Marin Headlands Visitor Center” marks the intersection). Go through the one-way tunnel and down the road a little less than a mile until you reach a small parking area on your right. Park.
-Across the street from the parking area is the Coastal Trail Trailhead. (It looks like a long straight dirt road that heads up into the mountains.)
-Take the coastal trail for about 100 meters and you'll see a little side trail on your right with a sign for black sands beach. Follow the little side trail up the hill til you hit a road. Go across the road and you'll see the path down to the beach from a little parking lot.

Coastal Trail
If you want a longer hike with a scenic view. Just don't take the right onto the beach trail and continue up up and up the coastal trail until you reach the absolute tippy top in a few miles. You know you're at the top when you see this view...

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