Just across the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands offer shoreline views, crashing surf, and a surprising wildness. Join
the parade of cars winding up twisty Conzelman Road to Hawk Hill, but don’t stop there. Drive a bit farther to the beach parking
area on your left, and you’ll see signs for the trail to Black Sands Beach. The 0.75-mile hike down (slightly rickety) steps
is sure to put the rosy in your cheeks, and the narrow strip of beach is windy, wild, and stunning. Our secret? Instead of
starting from the beach parking area, we like to drive past the Marin Headlands Visitor Center, turn right on Bunker Road,
and start at the historic rifle range. It’s worth the extra 1.5 miles over the ridge for the views you’ll have all to yourself.
Another great spot is the Tennessee Valley Trail—named after the SS Tennessee, which collided with the shore at this spot
in 1853—which winds 2.2 miles (one way) past rolling hills toward a secluded beach awash with green and black basalt pebbles.
Last Reviewed February 2012