Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,939.00 ft (591.01 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
11.90 mi (19.15 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Marin Headlands is a perfect hiking spot for nearly any time of year, but especially so during the summer. When temperatures in the Bay Area rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas, it remains relatively cool along the coast. Fog usually curtains the landscape in the morning and burns away as the day unfolds, exposing gorgeous views of the bay framed by rolling hills. Many types of wildflowers flourish in the area, adding beautiful splashes of color along the trail.

To begin, follow the Julian Trail at the parking lot steadily downhill. Then, veer right and follow signs for Rodeo Valley Trail. This section of the hike is a steep, uphill climb, gaining around 850 feet over less than two miles. Follow signs for Alta Trail, from which expansive views of the bay may be seen on a clear day. Nestled below the peak to the northeast is the small town of Sausalito. Sailboats dot the waters surrounding the harbor, and across the way lays Angel Island. Next follow signs for Bobcat Trail, and then Marincello Trail which descends the hill gradually. Right before reaching the Miwok Livery Stables, the trail passes by a trailhead parking lot which features a pleasant picnic area and vault toilets. At the following fork, take a left turn to follow Old Springs Trail and ascend another hill. This time the elevation gain is considerably less, however the trail remains precipitous. At the next junction, keep right onto Miwok Trail and descend again. Follow signs for Rodeo Valley Trail and then ascend Julian Trail to get back to the parking area.

The parking lot fills up quickly, especially on weekends, so it is highly recommended to arrive early in the morning. There is intermittent shade throughout the hike but be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen (you can get sunburned even if it’s foggy!).

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful views. Wildflowers. Well-maintained trail.

Trailhead Elevation

590.00 ft (179.83 m)

Highest point

900.00 ft (274.32 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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