Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands

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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