Nike Missile Site SF-88

Volunteer demonstrates a Nike Hercules missile emerging from below.
Hercules missile on the launch pad.

Spencer E Holtaway

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

The Cold War was a tense time between the United States and the Soviet Union, two superpowers vying for global influence. To defend against potential Soviet attacks, the US Army built close to 300 Nike missile launch batteries between 1953 and 1979. The Nike missiles were intended to be a last desperate act of defense against H-Bomb carrying Soviet bombers that had eluded interceptor jet aircrafts.

Missiles at the Nike sites also could have carried nuclear payloads that would have detonated off the coast of the California communities that housed them. SF-88 in the Marin Headlands was one such site. Today, GGNRA preserves the site as it was during operations to remind visitors of the physical effects of the Cold War on the American landscape.

Currently, SF-88 is open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 12p.m. to 3p.m. On the first Saturday of each month there is an open house with volunteers and Nike veterans interpreting the history of the base. To confirm hours or if you have any questions, please contact 415-331-1540 -OR-

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Last updated: June 18, 2023