Arcadia Publishing The Marin Headlands, those dramatic ridges north of the Golden Gate, were formed millions of years ago when the Pacific Ocean broke through the coastal ranges. These rugged escarpments, technically the foothills of Mount Tamalpais, are named (along with the county itself) for legendary Miwok leader Chief Marin. In the 16th century, Spanish, English, and Russian ships found refuge in the lee side of the headlands, in present-day Sausalito. Governments from Spain, Mexico, and the United States used the headlands as a military companion to the Presidio in San Francisco from the Civil War through the cold war. Forts Baker, Barry, and Cronkite held hidden batteries and housed soldiers in among verdant valleys of orchards and livestock. In 1972, the U.S. Congress transferred the Marin Headlands to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).