The Golden Gate National Recreation Area protecting 82,027 acres of ecologically and historically significant land surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. At this blog I will describe in short visit planning to the section north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
For most of the park attraction point I wrote a dedicated blog, just follow the title link to the full blog on each location.
Located north of San Francisco at Marin County, just after crossing the Golden Gate bridge.
Year round hiking, vista viewing and other attractions; at hot summer days the park offer large beach for day use.
Due note 1: This is a crowded park, especially during weekends, try to come early.
Due note 2: Some of the park roads are one-way, check your planned route in advance.
Due note 3: There are many old militaries bonkers in the area, dated WW2, part of the fun is to explore them.
Due note 4: Check for Point Bonita Lighthouse opening hours, it is not simple to find it open ….
There are a lot of things to see and to do at this section of the Golden Gate NRA, it can be as short as 20 minutes stop at the north Golden Gate Bridge viewing point or a full long day, hiking at the large open space hills and coastline or relaxing at the beaches this park has to offer.
Link to additional blogs
Plan on spending at least a few hours in the park, exploring the scenic drives, enjoy the view or hike to a particular point of interest.
You can spend few relaxing hours at the Rodeo Beach and if time permits, you could take a longer hike.
Much of the Golden Gate NRA, Marin Headlands section is a land formerly used by the United States Army there are many old bonkers you can visit, usually they have excellent viewing point on the landscape.
Few visiting options:
When coming from San Francisco and crossing the Golden Gate bridge it is highly recommended to stop at the North View Vista Point (only accessible northbound), this is probably 20 min stop.
From here reconnect back to the 101 north and immediately take the first exit on your right into Alexander Ave. take left into Bunker Rd, cross the tunnel and you are at the park.
Here you can drive directly to Rodeo Beach, enjoy the beach or hike at the hills north of the beach.
Instead of driving directly to Rodeo Beach, you can take left into McCullough Rd, it will climb the ridge and at the roundabout turn right into Conzelman Rd west, in the direction of Hawk Hill.
We will take right at the first exit and climb up the hills, stop at viewing points and explore the bunkers.
From here keep driving at the one-way road and arrive to Point Bonita Lighthouse parking.
Check if the Lighthouse is open and if it is than I highly recommended to visit it, 0.5 mile trail to the hidden lighthouse below.
From the lighthouse you can go and visit the Rodeo Beach.
On your way out of the park you can use the same tunnel Bunker road you came in (may be close at mid-day) but I recommend you take McCullough Rd right.
The road climbs the ridge and at the roundabout turn, this time, left into Conzelman Rd east, in the direction of 101 exit.
Stop at the amazing Battery Spencer viewing point, park along the roadside where it allowed, or hike from here down to the Kirby Beach at the cove below.
List of point of interest:
Just after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to north, you will see a turnout into the viewing parking lot.
Excellent view of the bridge, the city across the bay opening, Alcatraz Island in the bay and the north bay hills.
For unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the bay and San Francisco you can hike up the 0.5 mile steep trail leading to Slackers Hill ridge.
Park your car at the small parking lot located right on the roundabout. Walk down the road and pass the road to the other side. From here the wide trail climb up and to the left.