The Marin Headlands is a hilly peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin
County, California, located just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate
Bridge. The Marin Headlands is a crown jewel of the Golden Gate
National Recreation Area abounding with places of natural wonder and beauty and
remarkable historic sites.
The First Day ...
- Golden Gate Bridge
View Vista Point
We stopped by the vista point just right after crossing
the Golden Gate Bridge to take a restroom break and had our McDonald's
brunch in the car where we witnessed a car break-in in the parking lot (we
did not actually see the theft, but we saw the owners run back to their car
to check the broken window...).
- Nike Missile
SF-88 is a former Nike Missile launch site at Fort Barry.
Opened in 1954, the site was intended to protect the population and military
installations of the San Francisco Bay Area during the Cold War,
specifically from attack by Soviet bomber aircraft. SF-88 was inactivated in
1974 as part of the general continental United States phase-out of the Nike
project, and was chosen as the historical missile site in the United States.
The site is open to public on Saturdays 12:30PM--3:30PM with formal tours
guided by park rangers or voulnteers (unfortunately, all tours were
suspended due to COVID-19)
- Batteries Trail -- Battery O'Rorke, Battery Smith-Guthrie, Battery
The Marin Headlands is the site of a number of historic military
settlements fortifications, including a large number
of bunkers and batteries. Originally constructed as a jeep road
between the gun batteries this trail has been narrowed to accommodate
changes in use. The trail provides access to and allows for exploration of
Battery Smith-Guthrie, Battery O'rorke and Battery Alexander. Along the
trail one can expect to see views of the Pacific, waves crashing upon Rodeo
- Hawk Hill
Hawk Hill, standing 923 feet above the entry to the Golden
Gate, offers a prime vantage point for viewing hawks, eagles, falcons, and
vultures collectively known as “raptors” as they soar overhead during their
annual fall migration. But most tourists come here to see the most
spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline.
It’s this clear view of the ocean and the surrounding area that made it a
site (Battery #129) for two large guns during World War II, and later it
housed radars as part of the Nike Missile Defense System during the Cold War
- Battery Spencer
At almost 500 feet above the bay, this high
cliff-top vantage point makes for great views of he Golden Gate Bridge and
San Francisco skyline today (and was a prime location for big coastal
defense guns when the army was here)
- Fort Baker -- Cavallo Point
Fort Baker, the 9th and final "Post-to-Park" conversion in the Golden Gate
National Parks, is a 335 acre former U.S. Army post located immediately
north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This hidden gem of a site consists of over
25 historic army buildings clustered around a main parade ground, a
sheltered harbor protected by a jetty, a number of historic gun
emplacements, and trails and forested areas climbing gently up from San
Francisco Bay. Today, the former army base was converted to a luxury
resort offering both historical and contemporary lodging options.
- Golden Gate Bridge at Night
The Second Day ...
- Golden Gate Bridge at Sunrise
- Biking around Fort Baker
Cavallo Point offers free 3-hour vintage
electric bikes to hotel guests. This was our first time to try eBikes,
and we rode around Fort Baker and went under the Golden Gate Bridge.
With eBike's pedal assist, it was so easy to go uphill without much effort
(in fact, we felt more comfortable to go uphill than downhill :-))
Going Home ...
Although we have been living in the SF Bay Area for almost 30 years, we have
not really spent any significant time to explore Marin Headlands (only brought
some family/friends to a few tourist spots for Golden Gate Bridge viewing in the
early days when we just moved to US). This was a nice weekend get-away to
start the spring this year.
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