A Trip to Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands

A few months ago, Ryan and were making a trip up north to our family house in wine country. Since we had a some extra time, we decided to make a quick stop at the Marin Headlands, just north of San Francisco. There you find the 950 peak known as Hawk Hill.

This was my first trip to the Headlands and I was immediate infatuated with the abandoned military installations and the architecture and engineering that was required to create this fortress. The juxtaposition of these massive concrete pads which once held artillery and radars against ages-old trees and fog-swept hills.

I had no idea this military base even existed!

The Marin Headlands is the site of a number of historic military settlements fortifications, including Fort Cronkhite, Fort Barry, a large number of bunkers and batteries, and the SF-88 Nike Missile silo. From the 1890s, the first military installations were built to prevent hostile ships from entering San Francisco Bay. …During World War II Batteries Wallace, Townsley, and 129 on Hawk Hill were built into the hills to protect them from aerial bombardment and the high caliber shells that would be fired by Axis battleships. The emplacements at the top of Hawk Hill were used for a radio station.

During the Cold War, the gun batteries were decommissioned, but antiaircraft missile sites were built on the northern and southern sides of Rodeo Lagoon. Radar sites were placed atop Hawk Hill and Hill 88. At several locations, shelters were built into the hillsides to protect the military personnel from the use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons.

All of that was built upon a landscape as beautiful as this.

We spent around an hour exploring the area, admiring nature’s beauty and the views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge through the fog seen from Hawk HillWe were unfortunately unable to continue to the most popular spot to get photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, road construction got in our way.

With that news we turned our car around and headed back to highway 101 and to wine country, all the while discussing how we cannot wait for Sam to visit us so we can bring him for a photo walk. Sure hope he brings his sweet 4×5 camera!

Next time, I want to strap on my hiking boots and explore the Costal Trail to Rodeo Beach. It looks pretty awesome. Hopefully Ryan and I can do this when I get back later in the week!

Rodeo Valley Trail - Coastal Trail

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