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Golden Gate & Marin

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Overview

Golden Gate and Marin Headlands, a part of the larger Golden Gate National Recreation Area, offer spectacular recreational opportunities to millions of visitors each year. The park is situated just north of San Francisco and is bound by both the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. The park is rich in varied histories from the Military to the Miwok Indians, including both Fort Barry and Cronkhite, the NIKE Missile site and the 150-year-old Point Bonita lighthouse. There is also an array of other attractions including hundreds of miles of trails, scenic beaches, and incredible vistas of San Francisco. On top of all this, wildflowers abound in the spring, and raptors migrate through the park in the fall. Visitors will undoubtedly enjoy this beautifully preserved open space in the otherwise over-built Bay Area.

To learn more about Golden Gate and Marin, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
There are a variety of visitor centers, book stores, historic sites, and destinations located within the park. For more information on a specfic visitor center and to see current hours of operation, visit the park's website.

  • Marin Headlands Visitor Center: Open 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • Point Bonita Lighthouse: Open 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
  • SF-88 Nike Missile Site: Open 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm, the first Saturday of every month.
  • Battery Townsley: Open 12 pm to 4 pm, the first Sunday of every month.
  • Presidio Visitor Center: Open 10 am to 5 pm, daily.
  • Presidio Officer's Club: Open 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday through Sunday.
  • Fort Point National Historic Site: Open 10 am to 5 pm, Friday through Sunday.
  • Lands End Lookout: Open 9 am to 5 pm, daily.

Visiting Tips

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is open year round. Hours of visitor centers and other facilities at may vary by season. For more information, visit the park's website.

Fees & Passes:
There is no entrance fee for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Sites, except for Muir Woods National Monument. Certain facilities may charge a reservation or use fee. To learn more about park fees, click here.

Camping & Lodging

Camping:
Marin Headlands offers several campgrounds for those looking to extend their stay in the park. Sites are limited and reservations are required. To learn more about camping in the park, click here.

  • Kirby Cove Campground: 5 sites. Open April 1 to October 31. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1 (877) 444-6777
  • Haypress Campground: 5 sites. Groups may reserve the entire campground from November 1 to March 31. The remainder of the year, only three sites may be reserved.
  • Hawk Camp Campground: 3 sites. Groups may reserve the entire campground from November 1 to March 31. The remainder of the year, only one site may be reserved.
  • Bicentennial Campground: 3 sites. Available on a first come, first served basis.

Lodging:
While there are a host of lodging accommodations available in the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area, there are a couple options for lodging located in the park itself. The Inn at the Presidio is located in the Presidio and is a historic hotel that has been restored as a guest lodge. The Cavallo Point Lodge, located in Fort Baker, offers a unique history and contemporary lodging options. Another option for reasonably priced accomodation located in the park is the Marin Headlands Hostel.

Food & Drink

Visitors have their choice of dining options at the Presidio. The Crissy Field Warming Hut and Beach Hut Café are perfect for beverages, soup, or sandwiches after a stroll along the Crissy Field shoreline. The Dish Café, Acre Café, Presidio Café, Presidio Bowling Center, Presidio Social Club, and Disney Museum Café are all great options for a meal while exploring the Presidio.

Options at Lands End include Sutro's at the Cliff House, an elegant restaurant with some of the most spectacular views in the park. Call (415) 386-3330 for reservations. Louis' Restaurant is another option at Lands End. Visitors to Fort Mason can choose between Greens, a famous vegetarian restaurant that is open for lunch and dinner and also serves beverages and pastries throughout the day, and Cooks which offers a variety of sandwiches and soups. There are no food vendors in the Marin Headlands. It is recommended that visitors bring food and snacks with them. There is also a wide variety of dining options outside of the park.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Guided Tours:
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area offers a variety of ranger-led programs that vary by season. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

Shuttles:
There is a free park shuttle that runs each weekend until September. Check this map for more information on shuttle stops. Addiitonally, the Presidio offers a free shuttle service. For more information on the PresidoGo Shuttle, click here.

Other Activities

When done exploring the miles of trails, enjoying the coastal scenery, and learning about the rich culture and history of Golden Gate and Marin Headlands, visitors can enjoy a variety of other outdoor activities in the area. There are many options for mountain biking and rock climbing in the San Francisco Bay area as well as the other units of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to explore.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in Golden Gate & Marin - 11

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gem Favorite Sunlight on the Golden Gate.

Golden Gate Bridge

(37) Sausalito, CA
gem Favorite View from Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Island

(19) San Fra…, CA
gem Favorite San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge

Battery Spencer

(12) Sausalito, CA
gem Favorite Looking down the trail to Mile Rock Beach

Mile Rock Viewpoint

(6) San Fra…, CA
gem Favorite Another view of the lighthouse bridge

Point Bonita Lighthouse

(8) Tamalpa…, CA
gem Favorite The Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in fog.

Hawk Hill

(6) Sausalito, CA

Recommended Routes in Golden Gate & Marin - 8

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Favorite The Golden Gate Bridge is on display from the Coastal Trail.
Intermediate

Coastal Trail: Lands End

2.9 mi 4.6 km 192' Up 58.44 m Up 192' Down 58.4 m Down

San Fra…, CA
Favorite Northward bound backpacker taking in the view with his morning snack.
Intermediate/Difficult

Muir Beach Loop

5.8 mi 9.4 km 1,164' Up 354.88 m Up 1,164' Down 354.8 m Down

Tamalpa…, CA
Favorite Heading back toward the parking lot on the Tennessee Valley Trail.
Intermediate/Difficult

Tennessee Valley Lollipop

4.1 mi 6.7 km 761' Up 231.89 m Up 761' Down 232 m Down

Tamalpa…, CA
Favorite View from the SCA Trail.
Intermediate

Golden Gate Bridge Overlook Out-and-Back

5.3 mi 8.5 km 1,000' Up 304.86 m Up 999' Down 304.44 m Down

Sausalito, CA
Favorite Overlooking the Tennessee Valley.
Intermediate

Tennessee Valley: Ridge Trail to Coast Loop

5.4 mi 8.7 km 924' Up 281.5 m Up 936' Down 285.36 m Down

Tamalpa…, CA
Favorite View from the SCA Trail.
Intermediate/Difficult

South Headlands Loop (Coast-Miwok-Alta)

7.8 mi 12.6 km 1,243' Up 378.86 m Up 1,239' Down 377.52 m Down

Sausalito, CA
Favorite Rodeo Beach.
Easy/Intermediate

Rodeo Lagoon Loop

3.4 mi 5.4 km 137' Up 41.68 m Up 137' Down 41.7 m Down

Marin City, CA
Favorite Heading down toward the Oakwood Valley.
Intermediate/Difficult

Orchard Trail Loop

1.9 mi 3.0 km 374' Up 114.06 m Up 449' Down 136.95 m Down

Marin City, CA

Golden Gate & Marin Hiking

  • 253 Miles 408 Kilometers of Trail
  • 13 Recommended Routes
  • 11 Gems Gems
  • 20 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 35 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 13 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

Areas Within Golden Gate & Marin

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Trails in Golden Gate & Marin - 55

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1.1 mi 1.8 km #1SCA Trail
Intermediate
Sausalito, CA
Intermediate
Sausalito, CA
1.5 mi 2.4 km #2Pirates Cove Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Tamalpais Valley, CA
Intermediate/Difficult
Tamalpais Valley, CA
0.2 mi 0.4 km #3Slacker Ridge Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Sausalito, CA
Intermediate/Difficult
Sausalito, CA
1.6 mi 2.7 km #4California Coastal Trail: Presidio
Intermediate
San Francisco, CA
Intermediate
San Francisco, CA
1.9 mi 3.1 km #5Coastal Trail
Intermediate
Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, CA
Intermediate
Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, CA
0.5 mi 0.9 km #6Point Bonita Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, CA
Easy/Intermediate
Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, CA
0.3 mi 0.4 km #7Mile Rock Trail
Difficult
San Francisco, CA
Difficult
San Francisco, CA
0.3 mi 0.4 km #8Upper Fisherman's Trail
Intermediate
Marin City, CA
Intermediate
Marin City, CA
0.3 mi 0.5 km #9Sutro Baths Upper Trail
Intermediate
San Francisco, CA
Intermediate
San Francisco, CA
1.9 mi 3.0 km #10Tennessee Valley Trail
Easy
Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, CA
Easy
Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, CA 10 

Photos of Golden Gate & Marin - 212

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

Sunset on the beach
Jul 27, 2018 near Sausalito, CA
View from the SCA Trail.
Mar 3, 2016 near Sausalito, CA
Rodeo Beach.
Feb 9, 2016 near Tamalpa…, CA
The perfect outdoor classroom.
Mar 2, 2016 near Tamalpa…, CA
Tennessee Valley Hike
Sep 2, 2015 near Tamalpa…, CA
Rodeo Beach.
Mar 4, 2016 near Tamalpa…, CA
Imagine watching Fleet Week from here!
Mar 2, 2016 near Sausalito, CA
Beach fun near the Tennessee Valley Trail!
Dec 20, 2015 near Tamalpa…, CA