Beautiful day starting from Conzelman Dr. parking area at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course there would be fog starting out on the other side of the hill…it wouldn’t be San Francisco otherwise. Get there early on a weekday preferred as the small parking lot fills up very quickly. The trail starts just to the west end of the parking lot, finding it’s way up to the Marin Headlands road. The trail continues on the other side, switchbacking up the hill overlooking Sausalito and San Francisco Bay. At the saddle of the ridge, the trail splits off, to the left continues the Coastal Trail up Slacker’s Hill and to the right, the SCA Trail continuing over to Wolfback Ridge. A spur trail off to the left takes you down the Rodeo Valley Trail (the one I took), down to the valley floor. The Rodeo Valley Trail connects with the Lagoon Trail taking you out to Rodeo Beach and Fort Cronkhite.
The fog at the top of the ridge was just cool enough to be pleasant while running. Though there wasn’t much to see with the fog, it kept me focused on my running. The long downhill run down the Rodeo Valley Trail was a good time to practice my downhill running technique. It wasn’t so steep that I thought I was going to lose it and do a header on the road. At the bottom, there is a short distance you need to run alongside the paved road. At that time of day, I didn’t have much traffic to contend with. Once out to the beach, flush toilets and running water to refill my water bottle was waiting. I took a little time to take in the scenery and where I was. After all, I earned the view.
Rather than retracing my steps, I chose to run along the road past the stables until I came to a large clearing on the south side of the road. From there, I rejoined the Coastal Trail that took me back up the hill to the roundabout where McCullough Road meets Conzelman Road at the Marin Headlands. The Coastal Trail heads back up to Slacker’s Hill, rejoining the trail where I had started. I chose to run down alongside the road, a quicker route back to my car. There is a footpath provided on the outside of the guardrail along the road. A few pics of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands before arriving back at my car. I nice run for the day, getting in 10.5 miles for the out-and-back.