What? : 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 attraction point I wrote a dedicated blog, just follow
the title link to the full blog on each location.
Where? : Located north
of San Francisco at Marin County, just after crossing the Golden Gate bridge.
When? : 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
Due note 4: Check for Point
Bonita Lighthouse opening hours, it is not simple to find it open ….
My thoughts: 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 viewing point or a long day of hiking at the
large open space or relaxing at the beaches this park has to offer.
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
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:
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
Here you can
drive directly to Rodeo Beach, enjoy the beach or hike at the hills north of
Instead of driving directly to Rodeo Beach, you can also 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.
Take this road,
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.
crossing the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco to north, you will see a
turnout into the viewing parking lot.
of the bridge, the city across the bay opening, Alcatraz Island in the bay and
the north bay hills.
Easy walk up to
one of the best high-level viewing points of the Golden Gate bridge.
Old WW2 bunker
location viewing the bridge from above and San Francisco on the other side of
is one of the best viewing points over the Golden Gate bridge and San
Francisco, it may be difficult to find parking space in the small parking lot.
Most of the parking is on Conzelman Rd roadside, it is one-way road, so you
need to come from within the park (use the north main park entrance road).
A popular beach
at warm summer days, a large inland lagune and excellent hiking starting point
into the surrounding hills and old WW2 bunkers.
the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and take the Alexander Ave exit (Exit
442). Turn left following signs to Marin Headlands via Bunker Road. Pass
through the Baker Barry Tunnel continue driving past the Marin Headlands Visitors
Center to Rodeo Lagoon parking.
Point Bonita is
still an active lighthouse, its beam can be seen for 18 miles across the water under
clear conditions. In dense fog when the light signal cannot be
seen, a sound
system comes into play.
trail that is steep in parts. The tunnel halfway to the lighthouse is open only
during visiting hours, you cannot see the lighthouse from the trail.
place that has the lighthouse view is from the nearby “antenna hill”. This is
“non-official” trail, not maintained and for a short section you are hiking
right on the cliff edge, be careful!
Nike Missile Site SF-88:
missile launch site located in the declassified Fort Barry in the Golden Gate
National Recreation Area.
Welcome to the
Nike Missile Site, the most fully restored Nike missile site in the country.
During the tense years of the Cold War, from 1953 to 1979, the United States
Army built and operated close to 300 Nike missile sites in the United States.
These sites were designed to be the last line of defense against H-Bomb
carrying Soviet bombers that had eluded the Air Force’s interceptor jet
hour information contact Marin Headlands Visitor Center.
Valley trail (3.5 miles out and back) will take you through the small valley
down to the Pacific Ocean secluded cove. Located at the north section of Golden
Gate NRA Marin Headlands. The entrance is through Tennessee Valley road exiting
hwy 1 (just after you are taking hwy 1 exit from the 101 north).