Golden Camping

It was dark, windy, cold, and foggy, when we thought we got to our destination. The GPS read we had arrived, but we hadn't really, and we were lost. But after some prayer we found the "hidden" dirt road, and drove down it, to finally get to our destination. Well-- the parking lot to our destination. We still needed to walk to, and find our campsite. Luckily, other campers pointed us in the right direction, and I was able to set up camp.

Our first night, when I set up camp in the dark and cold.

Phoenix sleeping like a baby on our first night.

That night was cold, but Phoenix slept like a baby, and me-- not so much. But morning came quickly and we woke up to the sound of fog horns, and of course-- fog! The first thing we did was explore our surroundings which we could now see, and we walked down to the beach which was not too far from our site. We were in site number two (out of five sites), and the second closest site to the beach. Not too long after exploring our campground and having breakfast, we ventured out and took a drive to explore everything else around us.

Upon return, we moved our tent to a different spot on our site, and finished setting up camp until our friends arrived. One thing that was really neat about this campsite is there were designated tent "boxes" and they were level, so you knew you wouldn't be sleeping slanted. I think there were about five of these tent "boxes" at our site, and there was also non-designated space for more tents. Two of those tent "boxes" were made out of gravel, and the rest were solely dirt. One "box" was elevated, which is where we set up camp for the first night, but since it got so windy that night, I decided to move our tent to a lower level box. Our site also had 4 picnic tables, and a fire pit with a barbecue. It was definitely a very spacious site-- great for a large group.

The main path to the 5 different campsites. Can you spot our blue tent? 

Once our friends arrived and set up camp, we got our food ready for lunch and ate some yummy grilled corn, mac salad, vegetarian "duck" kabobs, rice, and beans! We had full tummies and were ready to show off our "beach bodies" down at the beach. It wasn't quite "beach weather" but that didn't stop Phoenix from getting completely soaked. While down there, we explored the entire cove, and took pictures. We found a couple of small, rock filled caves, a tunnel with some grafitti and garbage, really neat formations on rock walls, a black sand beach, and a variety of beautiful colored rocks. And-- of course, the beautiful Golden Gate bridge as a backdrop.

Lunch time BBQ

Small rock cave, looking in from the outside. Did I already mention how beautiful rocks were here?

Same cave looking out from the inside. 

The view to the other side of the cove, with the Golden Gate as a backdrop.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge before walking down to the beach cove.

This was a little before he was completely soaked. 

Dead Crabbies
My friend Debbie and I

Once we were done at the cove, we were back at our campsite and eating, again! That night we got to enjoy campfire smores. Then we made sure to clean up, because the raccoons around there were ready to feast, which we learned after a few encounters. That night, Phoenix slept like a baby once again, and I got more rest than the night before.

Our Smore Bar

Blowing his lit up marshmellow. 

The next day, we ate a yummy breakfast my girlfriend made, and spent the morning packing out. Our friends left just after midday,  because they had somewhere else to be. But the day was warmer than the day prior, and the day was just to gorgeous to pass up. So, you bet Phoenix and I stayed most of the day and enjoyed some beautiful beach weather at the cove! 

Looking to left side of the Cove.

Looking to the right side of the cove.

Napping in his little man cave.
Precious Moments-- right before I fully submerged in the ocean water. 

So, what cove was this?! Kirby Cove! And it's almost like a private cove, but not really because there are quite a bit of day hikers who make the hike down to enjoy this gem.  But how do they know about the "hidden" dirt road? Perhaps they are San Francisco locals who know about these beautiful spots in the Marin Headlands, or maybe they're nature freaks like me, who are looking for beautiful spots to hike and visit.

View from the dirt road, on our way out from camping.

How to get to the top of the dirt road:

  • Click the location link below, and google maps will open and direct you to the top of the dirt road that leads to the campground parking lot.
  • Keep in mind-- Once GPS has told you, you have arrived-- you have not arrived! You are at the top of the dirt road, that you probably can't see. My best advice is to park up there, where all the tourists are taking pictures with the Golden Gate in the background, and walk the sidewalk, that way you may be able to spot the small gate and dirt road on the right hand side.
  • Once you find the dirt road, you only have access to enter  through the gates with a vehicle, if you know and enter the code to get in. 
  • The code is given through the reservation system when you book a campsite or the day use area. The only other way to gain access to Kirby Cove is to hike down the dirt road. 

Helpful Tips:
  • There are only 5 sites at this campground, and are very much coveted, so book far in advance! I was lucky to find two nights available a couple of months ahead. An Sf local told us they'd been trying to book a site for years. The day the booking window opens, people jump on it, and you're lucky if you're able to snag a cancellation. 
  • The link to reserve a site is:
  • Bathe before you come because there are no showers available. 
  • There are about 5 vaulted bathrooms dispersed tbroughout the campground.
  • Site number one is closest to the beach cove. 
  • Bring ear plugs for the night if you think you'll mind hearing the fog horns at night.  
  • Wheelbarrows are available to help haul your stuff to your site. 
  • Use the food lockers, we encountered raccoons as soon as we arrived, as well as heard coyotes nearby.
  • Stay clear of poison oak, there's plenty of it!
  • Expect cooler weather. Check the forecast.
  • Enjoy the beauty of this place!


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