Hike with Stunning Golden Gate Bridge Views: Lands End Coastal Trail San Francisco

Hike with Stunning Golden Gate Bridge Views: Lands End Coastal Trail San Francisco


Hey guys today I’m gonna take you
through a hike in one of San Francisco’s best-known gems and it’s called
Lands End. Lands End is a national park in the most northwestern part of
San Francisco and it has a little bit of everything – it’s got rugged coastline with spectacular ocean views, a little bit of
San Francisco history, and of course, art. The best part is it’s a fairly moderate walk
so it’s great for hikers of all ability levels. The California Coastal Trail runs north
through Lands End here and we are going to pick it up on the southernmost tip
which is right above Ocean Beach and we’re gonna pick it up here at the Lands
End visitor center and they built this in 2012 so you can get a little bit of
historical information about the Indian tribes that used to live here as well as
some ecological information and then behind me there’s a great parking lot
that you can park at and we’re gonna head back this way and first check out Cliff
House which has some historical significance here in San Francisco. The story of Lands End starts here. Back in the 1850s San Francisco had a
much smaller footprint and didn’t extend all the way out here to the coastline
and Lands End was started as a recreational area by the city as a place for the
burgeoning goldmine wealthy to come to as a retreat and they started with the
Cliff House back here. The Cliff House was first opened in 1858
by C.C. Butler and Senator John Buckley as a supper house for the wealthy but
over time some of the more unsavory characters started taking it over and
before long it was known as a house of ill-repute. in 1894 Adolph Sutro who was then mayor and also a successful gold mining engineer
took over the area to try to rehabilitate it. A year later the project burned
down and Sutro rebuilt it as a seven story Victorian mansion which
was dubbed “The Gingerbread House.” He also built out the adjoining grounds around
here adding in a gardens and a bathhouse. The Cliff House has been rebuilt about
five times and this latest incarnation back here was built by the Park
Services in 2004. It still serves as a restaurant but in my humble opinion it’s
a little bit overpriced. From here we’re gonna walk down behind
me here and check out the Sutro Baths. Sutro built a large complex of
public swimming pools in 1896 right on the oceanfront. The complex
housed six saltwater pools, one freshwater pool, a museum, a 2700 seat amphitheater, clubrooms, 517 private dressing rooms, and an ice
skating rink. As you can imagine the operating costs were astronomical
and it always struggled as a business eventually it shut down and actually
burned down while being demolished in June 1966. The ruins are now returning
to nature and interesting to explore. One side route you can take is to hop across
the street from the Lands End visitor center back behind me here and visit the
Sutro Heights Gardens. These lands used to be part of the
Sutro recreational area. Such an awesome view.
You’ve got San Francisco spread out to the left and the ocean in front of you. Right above the Sutro Baths is Point
Lobos and it is Lands Ends most westernmost point. Behind me here is Seal
Rocks and this is where the los lobos or the sea wolves, or sea lions, used to hang
out. The seals have moved on to Fisherman’s Wharf and most of what
you’ll see out there nowadays are cormorants and other types of seabirds. We’re at Mile Rock Point and this is
where you’re gonna get your first vista of the Golden Gate Bridge in the
background. This is the entrance to the San Francisco harbor. It’s got a pretty
narrow opening which makes it fairly treacherous to navigate in and out and
along this path there have been three shipwrecks off this coastline that
can be visible at low tide. While hundreds of ships went down in the
channel, you can see remnants of the Lyman Stewart which sank in 1922
and the Frank Buck in 1937. Off Point Lobos is the USS Ohio wreck. From Mile Rock is the USS San Francisco
Memorial – hike up real quick to check it out. This memorial is a tribute to the USS San Francisco,
a World War II cruiser that was hit 45 times and had 25 fires
during the Battle of Guadalcanal against the Japanese in 1942. It managed to
make it back to Lands End. The memorial includes a portion of the ship’s bridge
which sustained the heaviest damage. From the memorial there is an offshoot
trail at the parking entry. Walking in this way
is one of the original buildings that has been left standing here and it’s
called the Octagon building. This building is called the Octagon House.
It was built in 1927 as a watch house for incoming ships. This shape was
fashionable in Victorian times as it was space efficient and allowed for
near 360 degree views. Beyond the Octagon building,
there’s really not much to see up here except for some of the old remnants
of Fort Miley which have fallen into disrepair and are heavily graffiti-ed,
but if you want to come up here there’s this fantastic view behind
me here of San Francisco. That out there is Ocean Beach
and portions of Richmond. Although we won’t be doing it today,
from the parking lot of West Fort Miley, you could take a trail called the
El Camino Del Mar trail to check out the batteries at East Fort Miley, as well as,
the Legion of Honor Museum. It’s really beautiful up there and there
are fantastic views from there, as well. Continuing down the trail we’re
headed now towards Lands End Point on Mile Rock Beach. This way to Mile Rock Beach. Super-gorgeous! There’s a little bit of a
scramble if you want to go down to the beach. I’m gonna head up and take a look at the view. Beautiful view of the coastline! There’s a couple of pretty
interesting sights up here. Out in the distance is Mile Rock Lighthouse.
It was fully functional until 1966 when it was converted to a helicopter landing pad – not sure why
you’d want to land out there though. Lands End used to be a gun battery and you
can still see the concrete pad mounting for one of its fixed guns. There was no
cover when operating these. There’s a piece of art here known as the Labyrinth
built by Eduardo Aguilera in 2004 as a place for meditation and relaxation. It’s
been twice destroyed by unknown people and each time Aguilera has built it back
up and in 2005 he burnt it down on purpose for the Vernal Equinox
and rebuilt it again. Remember when you come down this way
that what comes down must also go back up! Even though it may be tempting,
try not to go off trail. These cliffs are extremely treacherous.
We’ve had several deaths over the years here, one as recently as last year.
People go out to try and take a good picture and the cliffs just crumble underneath them. Just past Mile Rock Beach is the Painted Rock, once uses nautical guidance for incoming ships. And more stairs heading up to Eagle Point. Great view up though! Here’s a look back out onto the Pacific Ocean. Here we’re approaching Sea Cliff which
is a fairly exclusive and expensive neighborhood in San Francisco. Right next to us is the Lincoln Municipal Golf Course. It has really spectacular views
of the bay and right in the center of the golf course is the Legion of Honor Museum. We have arrived at Eagle Point Lookout
which is the end of this section of the coastal trail and the end of my
hike for today and if you go on a little further you’ll see that is the Sea Cliff
neighborhood back there so you’re going to dead-end into a neighborhood. There’s so much to see you’ll find it’s a new
hike every time you do it. Hope you get a chance to check it out
next time you’re in San Francisco. Til next time, peace out.

9 thoughts on “Hike with Stunning Golden Gate Bridge Views: Lands End Coastal Trail San Francisco

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *