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.

Wildlife

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.

Geology

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.

Planning Ahead..

  • 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).

 
 

Special Programs

Parkwide programs

The Point Bonita Lighthouse is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 12:30 - 3:30 PM.

The Nike Missile Site is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 12:30 - 3:30 PM.

Battery Townsley is open the 1st Sunday of each month from 12:00-4:00 PM.


Public Transit

Check out Transit 511.org for MUNI 76 Service on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Last updated: October 20, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022

Phone:

(415) 561-4700
Pacific West Region Information Center (415) 561-4700 Special Event & Commercial Film Permits (415) 561-4300

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