The Marin Headlands, a hilly peninsula located north of San Francisco across from the Golden Gate Bridge connects two peninsulas and counties. The Marin Headlands are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and are famous for the great views they offer of the Bay area, especially the Golden Gate Bridge. The Marin Headlands were home to Native Americans who moved between the two peninsulas.
This area receives more rain due to the area forming its own clouds that turn into precipitation. Although the area gets considerable amounts of rain, the gusty winds coming off of the Pacific Ocean prevent the formation of forests.
You can access Marin Headlands using different roads and routes. If you are using a car or bicycle, you should take the Alexander Ave exit, which is after the Golden Gate Bridge and turn left under the freeway. Conzelman Road is to the right and will take you up along the bluffs. You may also take Bunker Road that leads you directly to the headlands through a tunnel that is one-way.
Since the Marine Headlands are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, they offer a wide array of attractions. One can enjoy bird watching at different spots on the Headlands. You can also see other animals in the area, and there are superb trails on the Gerbode and Tennessee valleys in addition to great beaches.
As its name suggests, the place offers a spectacular view of the migration of birds like hawks, eagles and falcons as they fly south during the winter. The main migration period is usually between September and November and one will be able to see as many as one thousand birds in one day.
These headlands are also home to mountain lions, the black tail deer, coyotes, rabbits and raccoons. Other animals include two main types of foxes, bobcats and skunks. The Pacific Ocean surrounding the Headlands is also full of different sea animals like grey whales, surf scooters, common murres and harbor seals.
Nike Missile Site
This is the only restored Nike Missile site in the whole United States. Therefore, it is a very important historic site. You get to have a close look at this anti aircraft missile site that was constructed during the Cold War. At the site, there are huge missiles and missile tracking radar equipment in addition to other weapons that were used during the cold war.
Point Bonita Lighthouse
This Lighthouse is located at the entrance of the Marin Headlands. It was the last lighthouse on the California coast to be manned. It is the only Lighthouse people can access through a suspension bridge. If you would like to visit the Lighthouse, you will need to go on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays at specific times. Therefore, it is advisable to call earlier on to know when they are open to the public.
This Lagoon is at the heart of Marin Headlands and offers a habitat for butterflies and birds. The Lagoon is a great place for bird watching, as you will get to see ducks and other birds resting or feeding in the shallow wetlands. The Rodeo Lagoon is also home for an endangered small fish known as the goby.
This is the only valley that is not split by a road. This valley is popular among cyclists, hikers and equestrians. However, there is a lot of activity during the weekends; therefore, if you would like some time alone as you hike or cycle, the best time to go would be during weekdays, as you will have the trail all to yourself.
Marin Headlands is a great place for one to take some time off and relax because it is a vast, beautiful wilderness that is quite close to the metropolitan area. Therefore, one can visit this place and enjoy its beauty without having to spend a lot of money or time getting there.