Owl Be the One!

Hike the Owl Trail in Marin During a Storm

The Owl Trail, Marin’s swooping seashore tramp, offers bonuses in winter: the chance to see the moody waves of the Pacific during unsettled weather, and an opportunity to spy migrating gray whales offshore. The 2-mile round-trip trek—not for those with a fear of heights—parallels Highway 1 between the Muir Beach Overlook and Slide Ranch. Pack your binoculars and your patience, and keep an eye out along the way for swooshes on the Pacific, signaling spouting whales in the distance, or just enjoy the drama of the sea. Other sightings include the trail’s namesake great horned owls, along with animals that live at Slide Ranch, a nonprofit teaching farm that’s a crossroads destination on the trail. Turn it here and head back the way you came. Owl of good hike!

TIP: If it’s not too slick from wet weather, upon reaching Slide Ranch you continue past the office building and take the path—steep at one point—down to North Beach. Note: This is not recommended after wet weather as it can be very slippery, and sneaker waves during winter are dangerous. If the weather’s cooperating and you get to the beach, explore tide pools.

The Owl Trail starts from an unmarked trailhead at the north end of Muir Beach Overlook parking lot. Take this north for 1 mile all the way to Slide Ranch, and return the way you came. No dogs.

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