Difficulty - Easy
Length - 3.0mi
Crowds - Moderate
Fees - Free
Best Season(s) - Any
There are many great views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands, perhaps the most famous is from Hendriks Point, but my personal favorite spot is little ol' Kirby Cove. A short, but steep mile and a half long trail leads down from the main road down to the cove. Rocky cliffs surround a small sandy beach which looks out on San Francisco and of course the Golden Gate Bridge. Fortifications and Wildflowers mix along the trail in equal abundance. It is possible to camp in Kirby Cove, though reservations are hard to come by. Site 1 is rumored to be the best. No need to work out the logistics of getting down the trail, if you're camping the park service sends you the gate combination so you can drive down to the beach.
Old WW2 Machine Gun Bunkers, Artillery Batteries and Fortifications covered in graffiti are somehow a welcome sight. It is possible to sneak inside some of the bunkers and buildings, though I would imagine there is a considerable health risk in doing so. The grey concrete bunkers stick out in stark contrast to the red clay soil of the headlands, spotted with the occasional green.
Nearer to the base of the trail, as it begins to flatten out, fields of wildflowers and forests begin to close in. A thin layer of trees creates a sheltered and beautiful setting for the final walk into the cove. Just before the bridge over a small creek the Golden Gate comes back into view, peeking out between the trees. Though this area is always popular due to its proximity to the city I found it relatively quiet on a Saturday afternoon. Beyond the trees is a small grassy field, perfect for any sort of recreation. Canada Geese were waddling across, searching out scraps of food against the thick border of wild black mustard which separate the beach itself from the field.
The beach itself is quiet with fabulous views of the city and the bridge. In many ways the scene captures the essence of the city perfectly, a very understated, low key beach, overflowing with natural beauty. After a short while sitting by the waves, I turned around, saying goodbye to the city by the bay and heading back up the steep trail.