While the Marin Headlands may be best known for front-and-center views of the Golden Gate Bridge found at Battery Spencer, there is much to explore beyond this heavily traveled viewpoint. Encompassing 2,100 acres of rugged, hilly landscape overlooking the Pacific, the Marin Headlands have been protected and managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area since 1970, and for good reason. The area is an outdoor recreation treasure trove. With dozens of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, walk-in campgrounds, a handful of spectacular beaches and numerous historical sites of interest, the viewpoints only scratch the surface of this outdoor playground.
The Marin Headlands area encompasses the coastline running from Fort Baker west to Point Bonita and northwest to Muir Beach, including the majority of the hills and valleys between the coast and the 101 Freeway. Depending on one’s destination, there are multiple access roads, chief among them Conzelman Road, Bunker Road in the south, Tennessee Valley Road, and Highway 1 slightly further north.
Highlights include Battery Spencer, Hawk Hill, Point Bonita Lighthouse, Kirby Beach, Rodeo Beach, Tennesse Valley and Muir Beach. Trails can be picked up and explored from many of these locations. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the rich network of trails for mountain biking, trail running and hiking, including the Coastal Trail, Miwok Trail, Pirate Cove Trail and numerous others threading their way through the valleys and up ridges, such as the trail extending from Tennessee Valley to Middle Green Gulch Loop. Other hikes lead to a beaches and campgrounds like Kirby Cove, and beachcombers and surfers will enjoy Rodeo Beach and Muir Beach.
While dogs are allowed on leash or under voice control in some areas of the Marin Headlands, it is important to note they are prohibited in other areas. Be sure to check the regulations by calling (415) 331-1540 before you get to the trailhead with your dog.