From the issue Gettin' Loopy
Just fifteen minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands lies Gerbode Valley—the lesser-known (but equally rewarding) neighbor of Tennessee Valley. Enter this view-rich, bowl-shaped valley on Bobcat Trail, which climbs gently for 1.6 miles. (This part of the trail is exposed, so get an early start to maximize morning's cooler temperatures.) As you ascend, you can't help but peer into the valley to look for bobcats and red-tailed hawks. As you climb higher, Mt. Tam and the Pacific will come into view. If you're up for an adventure, near the top of the road, take the Rodeo Valley Cutoff Trail. Although this trail isn't well-maintained, especially toward the end, press on—you'll be on your own, crossing a ridge from one valley to another, with inspiring views. The cutoff ends at the Rodeo Valley Trail, where you'll have two options: down or up. Down will take you back to your starting point. But if you have time, go up a few hundred yards up to the mountainside-hugging and ridgetop-rolling SCA Trail. This will add 2 spectacular miles of bay and city vistas to your journey, and you'll likely have the trail to yourself. About 15 minutes into this stretch, you'll reach a ridge that presents an iconic juxtaposition: on the right, the peaceful green and golden hills of the Headlands; on the left, the vibrant streets and skyscrapers of San Francisco.
Directions: To reach the trailhead by bus, take the 76 Marin Headlands line from San Francisco. To reach the trailhead by car from San Francisco, take the Alexander Ave. exit off Highway 101. Stay to the right on the exit ramp. Turn left on Bunker Rd. and go through the one-way tunnel. After about 1.5 miles, the trailhead is on the right, opposite a large field (if you pass the horse stables, you've gone too far).
Note: Bobcat Trail is multi-use (hikers, bikers, horses). Rodeo Valley Trail is used by hikers and horses. Rodeo Valley Cutoff Trail and the SCA Trail are used by hikers only.