On a clear day, the southernmost Marin Headlands roadway yields incredible perspectives on San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the East Bay.
Conzelman Road begins just north and west of the bridge. See Getting to the Marin Headlands Conzelman Road Vista Points, below, for driving instructions.
If you’re lucky enough to snag a parking space at the two vista points nearest the bridge (they’re often full up), you may experience a sense of déjà vu—shots from these angles have appeared in countless TV shows and feature films. The views from Battery East (lead photo), reached by a short path from the parking area closest to the bridge, may well make you gasp.
From Battery East, Conzelman winds along a craggy ridge (follow the Coastal Route sign at the traffic circle) past a few other vista points to Hawk Hill, an excellent place to view falcons, hawks, kestrels, and other birds of prey soaring above. From late August into December you can watch volunteers conducting the annual raptor count.
Docents lead “hawk talks” and give banding demonstrations on September and October weekends. Year-round, the Battery 129 tunnel (unmarked) at Hawk Hill delivers you to magical Pacific Ocean views. Back out at the parking area’s western edge, a path leads up to the Nike Missile Site SF-87 platform (not to be confused the nearby Nike SF-88L facility), which yields awesome ocean and city views.
South to the Lighthouse
After Hawk Hill, Conzelman Road, now one-way, rapidly descends west, passing the trailhead to Black Sands Beach and a few abandoned military structures until it dead-ends at Field Road, which leads south (turn left) to Point Bonita Lighthouse.
Getting to Conzelman Road Vista Points
If heading north from San Francisco: After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, take the Alexander Avenue exit. Turn left immediately. Follow Marin Headlands Coastal Route sign. Pass under U.S. 101 and head south back toward the bridge. Head west (right) up Conzelman Road, the last road before the bridge.
If heading south on U.S. 101 from anywhere in Marin: Take the Alexander Avenue exit and immediately turn left. Follow the brown sign that reads Marin Headlands Coastal Route. Head west (right) up Conzelman Road.
If heading south from downtown Sausalito: Drive south on Bridgeway, turning right on Richardson Street, left on Second Street, and left on South Street, which becomes Alexander Avenue. Continue under U.S. 101, turning left (south) at the brown sign that reads Marin Headlands Coastal Route. Head west (right) up Conzelman Road.
Conzelman Road Vista Points appears in Scenic Marin Headlands Escape.
This story first appeared online in 2017; it was fact-checked and updated in 2020.