• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking across the bay back towards San Francisco, seen in the distance.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

Gerbode Valley

Southerly view of Gerbode Valley
 
This five-mile loop in the rolling Marin Headlands connects to a network of other trails that rise and fall gently through grassland and coastal chapparal. Keep your eye out for wildlife.

Tips and Highlights

  • Park on Bunker Road in Rodeo Valley, just north of the car bridge at the edge of the Rodeo Lagoon.
  • Take a backcountry hike partway up the Bobcat or Miwok trails.
  • Keep a sharp eye out for bobcat on a warm day or deer at twilight.
  • Enjoy the wildflower extravaganza each spring.
Nature

Bobcats
Though bobcats (Felis rufus) are largely creatures of the night, they can often be seen in the Headlands during the early morning or evening hours-perhaps hunting rodents or rabbit. Bobcat paw marks and scat dot the Headlands, but many mistake their tracks for those of the more elusive mountain lion. Bobcats are most likely to be seen in the Gerbode and Tennessee valleys on nice spring and summer days.

Wildflowers
In the spring, Marin's headlands, hills, and valleys burst with color. The area's foggy coast and dry interior, its hodgepodge of soils, and its many fresh and saltwater zones provide an unusual diversity of wildflower species. Some of the best flower walks are on the Point Bonita Lighthouse, Tennessee Valley, Coastal, Wolf Ridge, and Miwok trails.

Grasses
As part of a parkwide effort to replace invasive species with natives, the National Park Service has been planting native bunch grass in the valley, once overrun by hoof-proof grazing grasses introduced by the Spanish.


Did You Know?

Artist's conception of the Portola expedition's first sighting of the San Francisco Bay from Sweeney Ridge in 1769.

Sweeney Ridge holds the site where the Spanish became the first Europeans to discover the San Francisco bay.