The Marin Headlands is a hilly peninsula located just north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The entire area is actually part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Headlands are famous for their views of the Bay Area, especially of the Golden Gate Bridge. To access the Marin Headlands take the last exit before you cross San Francisco Harbor on the Golden Gate Bridge.
The road winds along the cliffs, going higher and higher, with each overlook being more spectacular than the previous. When I went up, there were a lot of people and the overlook parking lots were mostly full. I managed to get a spot in one of the top most outlooks and took some photos.
There are several overlooks to view San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course you know, I don’t really have to tell you, the view is beautiful!
Once you have visited the last overlook, you can return back to the freeway going down the same way you came, or you can take an impossibly steep (18% grade) one-lane road that continues on, and takes you down the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
This is what I did! I did not take any photos as I was busy driving and braking. Thanks to the google street-view you can see for yourself what it is like here.
After the trip down the cliff, you will find a Visitor’s Centre, and a Nike Missile historical site. You will also pass a multitude of old military bunkers. There is a lot of history in this area.
To get back to the freeway I had to take a one-laned tunnel back through the mountain. That was so cool, it alone was worth the side trip.