Black Sands Beach is really not so black as it is a deep dark brown, yet when the waves roll back the sand really does appear black. To experience the true diversity of Marin County, try testing your directional skills in locating this treasure. Here is a little help from your friends...
Where Conzelman Road winds along the southern shore of the Headlands and becomes one-way, look for a pull-out on the left side of the road just after Hawk Hill. If parking is available (usually five to six cars can fit), pull in and look for a sign that reads "Upper Fisherman's Trail." The trail marker will let you know you are in the right spot.
From here it is a short 15 minute hike to the beach which traverses some varied terrain: a dirt trail, a cliffside bridge, and wooden steps. At our last visit, the steps to the beach were still intact - otherwise there is a short jump down to the sand.
While in the Headlands and looking for something else to fill your day, continue on Conzelman Road past the Nike Missal site towards Fort Cronkhite. Take the left onto Bunker Road up the hill to The Marine Mammal Center where there is plenty of parking in the new lot.
Admission is free and there is something to see year-round. The Marin Mammal Center's purpose is the rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing of marine mammals who are injured, ill, or abandoned. Depending on the time of year, one may see a California Sea Lion, Northern Elephant Seal, Pacific Harbor Seal, Northern Fur Seal, or a Southern
Sea Otter. On a few occasions, the Marine Mammal Center has taken in Guadeloupe Fur Seals, Stellar Sea Lions, and Bottlenose/Pacific White-Sided Dolphins. The only non-mammals that the Center takes in are sea turtles.