Hike Oakwood Trail, Marin Headlands

Oakwood Trail, Mill Valley, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    300 Feet

Dog Friendly
Forest
Scenic

Watch the fog float in & out of the hills, walk amongst the trees, & witness a view of the Golden Gate Bridge only locals know about.

Looking to escape the hustle of San Francisco, but don't want to commit to an entire day on the trail? When setting out for this morning hike, be prepared for about 1.5 hour hiking adventure (longer if you stop for extra photos) and a 20 minute commute from San Francisco. 

 This hike is recomended early morning for several reasons:

  • Fewer people on the trail & fewer people looking for a place to park.
  • The fog is likely to be just burning off, giving you epic views all around.
  • Shorter commute time across the Golden Gate Bridge. Traffic tends to pick up around 9AM.

From Highway 1, you'll take Tennessee Valley Road for about one mile. After Enterprise Concourse, begin looking for the white metal gate on your left hand side. Just after the gate, parking will be available on the right side of the road. You'll know you're in the right place because there will be an additional trailhead on your right and the parallel parking area will be a very fine gravel.

Head into the Oakwood Valley Trail. After about a half mile, you'll begin a slight ascent that will continue getting steeper. As you climb towards the sky, don't forget to look back. Depending on conditions the fog will encompass you, or will sit perfectly in the valleys of the hills. 

Oakwood Valley Trail will continue around, you'll until you hit Alta Trail. Take a right on Alta Trail. This will become somewhat of a wide, dirt/gravel, fire road. Now, you can enjoy a leisure, flat walk with your face beaming in the sunshine... or covered in misty fog. 

After another mile under your boots, you'll turn a corner and see the giant trees ahead. Just before the trees, pop off to the left to get a glance at the Bay & the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Don't worry, the view gets even better. Hop back on the trail and continue for another half mile under the shade of giants. Once you cross over a paved road and glance at a random house on the hill, continue on the SCA Trail is just on the left side of the ridge ahead. 

Within 60 seconds, you'll know you're in the right place because just around the bend, the Golden Gate Bridge is ahead and completely surrounded by the beautiful rolling hills of the Marin Headlands.

If you're short on time, head back the way you came. If exploring is in the cards, hit up the Bobcat Trail to add an extra bit or Rodeo Valley Trail to make this a half day hike.

Pack List

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Light Jacket
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

Stunning views everywhere you look as Karl rolls in over the hills. If you're lucky, you'll see the tips of the Golden Gate when you reach the top. An amazing experience!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

7 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves