"An Urban/Coastal Trek" San Francisco Sports & Outdoors Tip by goodfish

San Francisco Sports & Outdoors: 93 reviews and 135 photos

  Bridge from the east side
by goodfish
  • Bridge from the east side - San Francisco
      Bridge from the east side
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  • Ocean Beach from near Cliff House - San Francisco
      Ocean Beach from near Cliff House
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  • Somewhere on Lands End Trail - San Francisco
      Somewhere on Lands End Trail
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  • That silly bridge again - near Baker Beach - San Francisco
      That silly bridge again - near Baker Beach
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  • This way! - San Francisco
      This way!
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(Repeating from my Things to Do pages)

This was the highlight of our week. It's also somewhere around 16 miles on foot so not for coach potatoes. The hike takes you from hotels near downtown to the Haight, through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach, and along the coastline to Fisherman's Wharf - where you will be good and ready to catch the F-line up the hill.

What's great about this one is that the scenery evolves from downtown skyscrapers to quiet, Victorian neighborhoods, and from green expanses of parkland to lofty oceans perches. The route isn't exact - we sort of figured it out as we went - but that's half the fun. I have too many pictures of the GG Bridge here but you can see the silly thing for miles along the coast so it just sort of ends up in most of the shots.

So here's what you do:
• Start early and head west towards the Haight. How you do that is up to you but I'd suggest a route north of Market, weaving through residential neighborhoods that look interesting.

• Have a gut-buster of a breakfast at the Pork Store in the Haight (see tip); you'll need it.

• After completely stuffed, walk north and into the panhandle of Golden Gate Park; head west through the park. Download a map before you go (http://www.sfgov.org/site/recpark_page.asp?id=17796) and pick a route that includes anything you'd like to see along the way (see previous tips).

• Eventually arrive at Ocean Beach; rehydrate at the Beach Chalet (see tip) and then head north up the hill along Great Highway, passing Cliff House and taking in killer oceanfront panoramas.

• Just past Cliff House, catch a trail down into the Sutro Bath ruins (see tip): wander about. Then head uphill to Lands End Trail on the north side of the parking lot.

• Follow the long, winding trail along the coast; stop at overlooks, admire the wildflowers

• Eventually you'll come out onto El Camino del Mar and a nice residential area called Sea Cliff; follow the road. Here's where the path became less defined - we had to detour south at one point and then drop back down closer to the ocean. You'll figure it out; just head back towards the water at the first opportunity.

• Keep heading north and into Golden Gate National Recreation area, following the path all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, passing Baker Beach and WWII bunkers. Stop at Fort Point National Historic Site, if you have time, and take pictures of the bridge.

• Here's where you pick up the Golden Gate Promenade that runs 4 miles east to the wharf. Follow the path along the water, passing Crissy Field in the Presidio, the marinas, and Fort Mason. If you have the energy, walk out Yacht Road (just past Crissy Field) to the Wave Organ. Otherwise, just keep heading east.

• Pass the old ships of San Francisco Maritime National Park at Hyde Street and continue into the wharf area

• Find a pub. Collapse.

This downloadable brochure from the National Park Service should be helpful, and reference the Golden Gate NPS website (below).


Equipment: Weather being impossible to predict:

Hot: sunscreen; hat; sunglasses

Wet/chilly: waterproof, windproof jacket; fleece; gloves; warm hat

For all weather: sturdy shoes with a good tread; daypack; water; wet wipes; moleskin/bandaids; camera; snacks; SF city map with bus lines marked (in case you poop out)

Theme: Hiking
Website: http://www.nps.gov/goga/index.htm

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 23, 2010
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