Marin Headlands (San Franciso)
Just north over the Golden Gate Bridge, are the Marin Headlands. My husband and I were looking for a longer and scenic hike, and so we chose to go up to the Marin Headlands. We visited during the government shutdown, which meant all of the bathrooms and buildings were closed, but you could still hike or run. There are a bunch of hikes in Marin Headlands, as well as mountain bike trails, equestrians, and if you are bold enough, you can run the trail. Plus if hiking isn’t your thing you can check out the Center for the arts or Marine Mammal Center.
We decided to hike the perimeter at the Marin Headlands. It’s an easy, wide trail, with the challenge being the elevation changes (about 1600 feet total). While we saw people, it was never busy, or crowded.
Plus there are beautiful views of San Francisco, Pacific Ocean, Tennessee Valley, Golden Gate National, Point Bonita Lighthouse, Hawk Hill, Fort Baker, Fort Cronkhite, and the Bay Area.
This is about what we did: Lagoon Trail → Miwok Trail → Wolf Ridge Trail → Coastal Trail to Rodeo Beach.
The loop at Marin Headlands itself is 7.8 miles, but near the peak, you can walk to the peak which is just over .5. It’s well worth the view and I would recommend it. Getting to the National Park is easy and there are plenty of parking lots.
The start and visitors center and Headlands Center:
We added about .5, to see the summit of the Marin Headlands and the Nike Missile Site. This area is used for flying and the giant building in the middle is called a “VORTAC”. Pilots can gauge where exactly they are in the air via these areas. It can be used in inclement weather when the aircraft is being flown solely from instruments (meaning the pilot is using modern technology to navigate). You can read more about that here.
In all, Marin Headlands was one of my favorite hikes of the trip. Marin Headlands is a beautiful open trail. The terrain is not difficult, but the elevation and climbing are.
Other California Hikes:
You Can See All Hikes Here.
Questions for you:
East Coast rocky trails or West Coast smooth but more climbing trails…which do you prefer? Have you been to Marin Headlands?