Marin Headlands


The Marin Headlands houses an amazing richness of history and biological diversity due to the variety of habitats and unique geology of the area.
Discover the many cultures that have called the Marin Headlands home, from the Miwok Indians to the American Military and everything in between. Enjoy a hike through our varied trails, including dog-friendly Rodeo Beach, and take in the astonishing views of the Pacific Coast and San Francisco. Take a drive along Conzelman Road from the northern foot of the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Bonita. This five-mile road offers breathtaking views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. The explosion of wildflowers in the spring and hawk migration in the fall fill the Headlands with year-round excitement.

Tips & Highlights

  • Bring your own snack and water; there are no food vendors in the Marin Headlands

  • Accessible restroom facilities are available at the Fort Cronkhite parking lot by Rodeo Beach and at the Visitor Center.

  • Picnic area at Battery Wallace, near the Point Bonita Trailhead is complete with tables and grills (no water on site).
  • Check out Transit for MUNI 76 Service on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
  • NOTE: Marin Headlands trails can be accessed off of Highway 101 from Rodeo Avenue Exit and Trailhead, and Spencer Avenue Exit at Morning Sun Trailhead. Access is prohibited from Wolfback Ridge Road, which is private.


The Marin Headlands is home to a diversity of animal species. Local mammals include coyotes, deer, rabbits, and bobcats. Due to the close proximity of the Pacific Flyway, the headlands also hosts a large variety of owl, song and shore birds. Egrets, grebes, and mallard ducks can be found year-around patrolling the waters of Rodeo Lagoon. Bird Island along the coast of Rodeo Beach is one of the largest roosting sites in northern California for the endangered brown pelican. Download the Marin Headlands Bird Checklist for a complete list of birds that can be found throughout the area.

The sea cliffs and road cuts of the Headlands have exposed some of the finest examples of pillow basalt and radiolarian chert found in California. Millions of years ago, these rocks formed at the bottom of the sea, several thousand miles from the coast. The black pillow basalt was created from lava spewing from vents, while the red-brown radiolarian chert formed as the remains of radiolarians (microscopic protozoans) collected in layers. As the seafloor moves slowly east, it slides under the North American continent and leaves behind scrapings of radiolarian chert and pillow basalt. Today, make sure to visit Rodeo Beach to marvel at the pretty green and dark-red pebbles that come from pillow basalt and chert-rocks.


More Marin Headlands

Last updated: September 24, 2020

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Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


(415) 561-4700

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