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Marincello - Bobcat - Miwok - Old Springs Loop, CAPrint Full | Basic
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Description 2 Triplogs 0 Topics
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 Bay Area, CA
Statistics
Difficulty 2.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 10.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 190 feet
Elevation Gain 600 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,612 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.36
Interest Historic, Seasonal Creek & Perennial Creek
Course Loop Hike
Jim Lyding
Descriptions 94
Routes 193
Photos 3,707
Trips 340 map ( 2,490 miles )
Age 40
Location Walnut Creek, CA
Photos
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
19  2011-09-03 Jim Lyding
Large Profile
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Radar
NPS Golden Gate NRA
Seasons - Late Spring to Early Autumn
Official Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.0  Tennesse Valley - Coastal Trail Loop
1.2  Coastal - Miwok Loop
1.2  Oakwood Valley Loop
1.9  Coastal - Wolf Ridge - Miwok Loop
2.0  Miwok and Bobcat Trails
2.0  The Marin Headlands
[ View More! ]

Historic Army Base and Great Views
by Jim Lyding

Mobile Version
This is another great hike in the Marin Headlands just north of the Golden Gate. History buffs may find World War 2-era Fort Cronkhite of interest. Cronkite was constructed in 1941 to defend the coast north of the Golden Gate from an enemy invasion that thankfully never came. The Marin Headlands are dotted with old bunkers and artillery emplacements that were supported by Fort Cronkhite. This is one of the few remaining military facilities from the World War 2 era left largely intact. It is now one of the many attractions in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

This hike starts at the Tennessee Valley Trailhead. 90% of visitors head straight down the gentle Tennessee Valley Trail to Tennessee Cove, but this route is a lot tougher. Head due west from the picnic area by the parking lot, and follow the signs directing you to the Marincello Trail. Marincello gains about 600 feet as it gently ascends a ridge high above Oakwood Valley to the north before ending at the Miwok Trail. This is a fire road that is so well-maintained that a passenger sedan could easily handle it. The grade unrelentingly gains elevation, but it is pretty easy. Go straight to join the Bobcat Trail and hike 0.7 mile to its junction with the Alta Trail.

You are on top of a high ridge here with Oakwood Valley to the north, Gerbode Valley to the south, and Tennessee Valley to the west. There's no shade even though the coastal scrub grows about 6-feet-high. The views are spectacular in all directions, but fog is a frequent occurrence in late summer. Your visibility may be 100 miles or it may be 100 feet. My initial trip unfortunately was the latter, but it kept the temperature nice and cool albeit fairly humid. Long sleeves are a must if the fog is blowing in on the 20 MPH winds commonly experienced up top.

Turn right to remain on the Bobcat Trail as it gently meanders down the east side of Gerbode Valley. Gerbode Valley has a wide riparian area running beneath high ridges on 3 sides before passing through the valley's narrow mouth to join the Rodeo Valley drainage that leads to Rodeo Lagoon. The vegetation is again primarily coastal scrub, but a few large eucalyptus, Monterey pine and Monterey cypress trees provide intermittent shade. Gerbode Valley is wide, flat, well-watered and frequently encased in fog so it is a mystery to me why redwoods are absent. Perhaps there once was a redwood grove that was logged before the area was converted to pastureland in the 19th Century.

Bobcat Trail heads down 1.9 miles from the Alta-Bobcat junction to the valley floor where you want to go right across a bridge spanning the now sizable creek heading into Rodeo Lagoon. Go left at the Miwok Trail just over the bridge for 0.5 mile, then cross a bridge to the south to reach the Marin Headlands Visitor Center. Take the Coastal Trail from the visitor center 0.7 mile to Rodeo Beach. The trail reaches the south end of the beach and great views to the south of guano-encrusted Bird Island. The trail technically runs north but you'll be walking through beach sand rather than a nice trail. The north end of the beach has a nice break and is popular amongst local surfers. Head east on the small Miwok Trail that runs between Rodeo Lagoon and Mitchell Road which is right in front of the well-preserved buildings of Fort Cronkhite.

You are now on the Miwok Trail and you reach the bridge you crossed over from the Bobcat Trail approximately 1.1 mile east of Rodeo Beach. Continue up the Miwok Trail to the north as it climbs to the top of Wolf Ridge. This stretch of the Miwok Trail is steeper than the Marincello Trail, but it's not terribly difficult. You trade the expansive views of Gerbode Valley for a ridgetop stroll before descending back to the trailhead on the Old Springs Trail. Old Springs is 1.4 miles from the Bobcat-Miwok junction. There are great views of Tennessee Valley to the west as you descend, quite steeply in certain spots, through dense coastal scrub.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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    Directions Preferred Months May Jun Jul Aug
    Water / Source:Drinking fountain at trailhead
    Preferred Start5 AM Cell Phone SignalHigh Points Sunrise6:23am Sunset5:26pm
    Road / VehiclePaved - Car Okay
    Fees / Permit
    None

    Directions
    Print Version
    To hike
    From US Hwy 101 take the US Hwy 1 exit. Join the traffic jam of cars heading up Hwy 1, but turn left onto Tennessee Valley Road only a few hundred yards west of 101. Tennessee Valley Rd. winds south for about a mile to a large parking area. There is ample roadside parking if the lot is full, which is frequently the case.
    Login for Mapped Driving Directions
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
    page created by Jim Lyding on Sep 04 2011 7:06 pm
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