Golden Gate Views
This highlights of this hike are views of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the rest is nothing to write home about. The terrain features the coastal chaparral and grasslands typical of the Marin Headlands with zero shade. However, coastal breezes make this a hike that can be done all year except when winter rains (largely absent this year) turn the trails into mud.
The hike starts at the developed trailhead (vault toilet!) by heading northeast on the Coastal Trail. The Coastal Trail also heads northwest from the trailhead, and you'll hit that portion later. Hike about 100 yards from the trailhead, cross McCullough Road and continue along the Coastal Trail for 0.2 mile to the turnoff to Slacker Hill. Go right and up Slacker Hill for another 0.2 mile to the top. The top has great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and central portion of San Francisco Bay. Clear days give million dollar views, but it is most assuredly windy most of the time.
Return to the Coastal Trail and go left (northeast) to its junction with the SCA Trail. The Coastal Trail goes right and down 675' to the vista point at the north end of the bridge while SCA goes 1.1 miles north to its junction with the Rodeo Valley Trail. Rodeo Valley is the large valley that you've been hiking above since the beginning. Head west (down) Rodeo Valley for 1.9 miles as the vegetation changes from wind-beaten chaparral into a mixture of chaparral and small trees.
There's some construction going on near the bottom of Rodeo Valley Trail including a new bridge (not open when I did this on March 3, 2012) and the beginnings of what looks to be a building. Possibly a new visitors center for Golden Gate National Recreation Area? Cross Bunker Road and take the spur trail on the south side of a large meadow to return to the Coastal Trail. This area used to have a lot of military installations, and the meadow looks like it could have been a rifle target practice range. You rejoin the Coastal Trail after 0.3 mile, and it's a 1.2 mile jaunt back to the trailhead with only 400' of AEG.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
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.