Dog Friendly Hike in the Marin Headlands

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The Wolf Ridge Loop is my favorite dog-friendly hike in the Marin Headlands. Start from the North end of the parking lot at Rodeo Beach near the restrooms. There is a white gate across a paved fire road — this is the coastal trail.

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The Coastal trail winds up the mountain. In spring you’ll be pleased to see a variety of wildflowers brightening up the hillsides — poppies, indian paintbrushes, and many I can’t name.

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You’ll climb the mountainside and traverse some steep stairs to get to the top of Hill 88. The Coastal Trail hits into Wolf Ridge Trail, follow Wolf Ridge trail and the signs to Hill 88.

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You’ll be rewarded with amazing views on a clear day! Dress in layers, it’s often foggy and/or windy but warms up once the fog burns off.

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There are a couple old bunkers along the way; you also pass Battery Townsley, where you can check out a huge canon and an amazing view.

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The turn off to the Miwok trail is on your left right before Hill 88, but I always head up to the Hill to check out the stunning view of San Francisco, as well as the old buildings, now covered in an ever changing array of graffiti.

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There is a lot of broken glass on the ground around the old bunkers and on top of Hill 88. Keep an eye out to prevent cut paws.

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Dogs are allowed off-leash under voice control on the Wolf Ridge Loop, as well as on Rodeo Beach. Just keep your dog out of the lagoon, swimming in there is a no-no. We’ve seen otters in the lagoon, so keep an eye out!

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After Hill 88, head back to the cut-off to the Miwok Trail, and follow it until it ends at a small parking lot. Cross the road and head to your right on the Lagoon Trail which parallels the roadway and takes you back to Rodeo Beach.

TIPS

Pick up a free trail map at the Visitor’s Center. The signs can be a bit confusing along the way. The map also shows other dog-friendly trails and which areas allow off-leash recreation.

You’ll want to bring water and snacks for you and your dog for this hike. While online I found it’s a 5 mile trek, my steps counter was closer to 7 miles.

For more details and directions, check out this article.