Hiking in the Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands

948 Fort Barry (Visitor Center)
Sausalito, California 94965
Visit Website
Local Phone: (415) 331-1540

You've seen the views a million times in photographs, but if you haven't soaked them up in person, well...don't forget your camera!

The Marin Headlands is a hilly, 12,000-acre peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin County,  just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. The area is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is administered by the National Park Service. 

Famous for their views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline, the headlands hold many attractions, from wildlife and historic military sites to the 150-year-old Point Bonita lighthouse. 

When it comes to dogs, be sure not to stray from pet-friendly trails, or you will be ticketed. Just three areas currently are open to dog walkers:

1. Coastal Trail from Golden Gate Bridge to junction with Wolf Ridge Trail 
2. Loop Trail from Rodeo Beach parking lot up Coastal Trail paved road (Old Bunker Road) near Battery Townsley and return to Rodeo Beach on paved road.
3. Wolf Ridge Loop (Coastal Trail to Wolf Ridge Trail; Wolf Ridge Trail to Miwok Trail; Miwok Trail back down to Coastal Trail).

The good news: pets under strict, reliable voice control can walk leash-free. They can also run to their hearts' content on Rodeo Beach, one of few  strands in the state where it's legal to ditch the tether. Stop by the visitor center (on the way to the beach) to pick up a map and get details on where you can and can't legally go with Rover. 

Word to the wise: Wind, fog and rapidly changing weather conditions are common, especially in summer. Bring a jacket, and don't forget water for you and your best friend. 
 

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Pee Wee in Marin
Pee-wee at Muir Beach
Marin County is spring-loaded with dog-friendly places, but we at DogTrekker have some tail-wagger favorites. The good news in the beach department: after months of parking-lot restoration work, beautiful  Muir Beach is due to open again to visitors in late November. Dogs under voice control are still allowed to be off-leash here, but those privileges soon may be reduced, restricted or eliminated under terms of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’snew dog management plan. Rules, if adopted, wouldn’t go into effect until 2015, so enjoy it while you can.  more »

white dog at sunset You’ve seen the views a million times in photographs, but if you haven’t soaked them up yourself, what are you waiting for? The Marin Headlands, that hilly peninsula on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge, is best known for views of the iconic structure, but with a little exploring, you’ll come to know it in a different way.  more »

Dog bliss, Rodeo BeachThe first time we poked around the Marin Headlands with our pup, we were playing tourist, popping out of the car here and there to snap photos of a fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t know where the maze of roads we were exploring might take us, but when we saw people walking dogs over a bridge at Rodeo Lagoon, we leashed up for a look-see.  more »

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