Marin Headlands travel planner

Sunset  – September 9, 2004

Harmony in the Headlands

Getting there
The headlands run north and west to Shoreline Hwy. (State 1) from Marin’s southern tip under the Golden Gate Bridge. From San Francisco, exit U.S. 101 at Alexander Ave., continue north, then head west to Bunker Rd. to the Marin Headlands Visitor Center (below), where you’ll find maps and books on the area.


Bay Area Discovery Museum. As of July, the 2 1/2-acre Lookout Cove and outdoor Tot Spot will open; all other attractions can be visited in the meantime. 9–4 Tue–Fri, 10–5 Sat–Sun; $7, under 1 free. 557 McReynolds Rd., East Fort Baker, Sausalito; or (415) 339-3900.

Headlands Center for the Arts. Dinner and discussion of artist David Ireland’s work, Mar 7 (dinner $15, discussion $10; reservations required). Annual Dinner at the Hearth fund-raiser Mar 27 ($100; reservations required). Project spaces 9–5 Mon–Fri, 12–5 Sat–Sun; free. Building 944, Fort Barry, Sausalito; or (415) 331-2787.

Marin Headlands Visitor Center. This month the center sponsors wildflower walks, birding talks, and full-moon hikes (call for details). 9:30–4:30 daily; free. Building 948, Field Rd. at Bunker Rd., Fort Barry, Sausalito; or (415) 331-1540.

The Marine Mammal Center. 10–4 daily; donations appreciated. Fort Cronkite, Sausalito; or (415) 289-7325.

Nike Missile Site. Open house Mar 7. Volunteers are welcome to assist with restoration, groundskeeping, and engineering efforts every Sat. Guided walks Wed–Fri. Call for hours; free. Field Rd., just up the hill from Marin Headlands Visitor Center; or (415) 331-1540.

Point Bonita Lighthouse. Lighthouse is at end of a steep 1/2-mile trail. 12:30–3:30 Sat–Mon; free. Contact the Marin Headlands Visitor Center for more information.

The Tunnel Singer. Lee Ellen Shoemaker usually performs, weather permitting, Sundays at noon at Construction (Bunker) 129, at the top of Hawk Hill (before the one-way road descent) on Conzelman Rd. To confirm performance dates and times, check or call (415) 665-4543.


From Battery Spencer. On this 1 3/4-mile round-trip hike, the descent from the parking lot leads to Kirby Cove, a pocket beach with a from-below view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Nearby campsites are available ($25 per night, reservations required; 800/365-2267). From San Francisco, exit U.S. 101 at Alexander Ave., turn left at end of ramp to go under highway, then turn right on Conzelman Rd. and follow it 1/4 mile to the trailhead.

From Bay Area Discovery Museum. Uphill from the east side of the museum, a 3/4-mile trail (1 1/2 miles round trip) climbs to lookout spots over Battery Cavallo. Trail starts at east side of museum.

From Construction (Bunker) 129 tunnels. The short climb to the top of Hawk Hill, above Construction (Bunker) 129 tunnels, offers great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the opportunity to see hawks Aug-Nov. From gun pit beyond the tunnels, follow signs up the hill.

From Rodeo Beach parking lot. The Coastal Trail climbs 1 1/2 miles (3 miles round trip) to the top of Hill 88 for views of Rodeo Beach, Bird Island, and the Farallon Islands. Take main trail from the fire gate in the parking area.

From Tennessee Valley Rd. The easy downhill slope along Tennessee Valley Trail (2 miles one way) is one of the nicest strolls in the headlands, with a pretty beach as its end reward. Trailhead is at the end of Tennessee Valley Rd., off State 1.


Produced by the Headlands Center for the Arts in 1989, Headlands: The Marin Coast at the Golden Gate (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque; $15 at the Headlands Center for the Arts; 415/331-2787 ext. 28) is a nice history of the area, including interviews with soldiers stationed at the headlands and a timeline from Miwok occupancy through the military’s withdrawal.

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