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Lands End Trail

San Francisco, California

4.7/5
based on 24 reviews

Details

Distance

3.26 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Julien Bacal

The Lands End Trail is one of the best hikes in San Francisco, California with great views of the coastline and the Golden Gate Bridge. The trail runs through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is protected by the National Park Service.

Background

The Lands End Trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a fairly easy 3.26 mile out-and-back hike along the coastline of San Francisco. Entrances to the trail are at both the Visitor Center parking Lot just up from Cliff House or in the Sea Cliff neighborhood off of El Camino del Mar (near the Lincoln Golf Course and Legion of Honor). 

When to Visit

Be sure to arrive at the trail early as it both starting points can get very crowded especially on weekends. For the best weather and views, late summer and fall months tend to be warmer and potentially have less fog. This will definitely help if you're hoping to a view of the Golden Gate Bridge or out to Ocean beach.

The Trail

From the trailhead, head along the Coastal Trail and continue along the path taking in viewpoints until you reach the Sutro Baths and the visitor center. From here, you can simply head back the way you came to return to your car. If you wish to make this hike a loop, you can head back along El Camino del Mar. The loop trail is only slightly longer, making it a 3.4 mile hike. The out-and-back keeps things simple and allows you to take in one more view of any points you may have missed along the coast or to make sure you get that photo opportunity you were thinking of on the way out. 

Dogs are allowed here leash-free if kept under voice control, but leashes are recommended for the safety of your dog and others who use the trail. Keep an eye out as this path is also used by mountain bikers and trail runners.

Trail Highlights

The highlights of the trail include access to China Beach, views of the Sutro Baths, Mile Rock Beach, Point Lobos, the USS San Francisco Memorial, and the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a great hike if you're looking to explore different viewpoints of San Francisco or if you want to get a scenic hike in with coastal views and not have to cross the Golden Gate. 

It's also not too strenuous, making it a family-friendly hike. 

Duration

This hike should take about 1.5-2 hours at a moderate pace and also depends on how long you take enjoying the views. 

Getting There

If you're driving, you can head West on Geary Street. Turn right on 32nd Street until making a left on Camino del Mar and continue until it becomes Lincoln Highway. You can park on the street at the entrance to the Lands End Trail or in the parking area for the Legion of Honor. Be sure sure to check signs for parking restrictions. If you prefer a designated parking lot, you can start the trail in reverse heading west on Geary until you see the lot on your right hand side as you come down the road and reach Camino del Mar (right after passing 47th Ave). 

Post Hike

Looking for a spot to stop off and picnic? Mile Rock Beach or Sutro Baths make for a great place to post up. You can stop by Devil's Teeth on Balboa en route to the hike to pick up some goodies!

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Features

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Running
Hiking
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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Scenic

Reviews

The Lands End trail hike offers up amazing views of the Golden Gate bridge as well as access to Mile Rock Beach (located just off the main trail) for a quick stop-off. I prefer to park next to the Presidio Golf Course as it's a little less crowded on busy days. This is family-friendly with minimal elevation gain.

You can see the sutro baths at the start. It was popular on a weekend. Lots of people jogging and listening to music.

Sutro Baths + Lands End offer the views of the bay that tourists imagine. Expect lots of people and usually cloudy/windy/chilly weather.

This hike is definitely great if you are visiting SF and want to see the golden gate bridge and the sutro baths. There are lots of locals jogging, and it's a nice way to get some exercise.

Great hike, done it several times. Have seen whales while on the trail! Outstanding views and easy path to follow. Wonderful hike!!

One of those places that probably will always have lots of people but it’s not long or hard so it’s a must do. I also came here late at night during the 4th of July, the moon was nice a full and illuminated what wasn’t covered with trees it was beautiful.

I walk, hike, run on this trail several times a week. I work just up the hill at the VA and love to come here after work for some exercise. I prefer to take this trail sometime Monday through Friday, as it gets really packed on the weekends. It is even fun on a rainy day! For more cardio you can hike down to Mile Rock Beach and then back up. Those stairs are tough.

SF is one of the most amazing cities because of it's accessibility to nature. When I was here for the summer, though chilly and far from downtown, I loved living in the Sunset District for it's beauty. Normally I would go for a run on Ocean Beach up to the Cliff House, but I finished with more time than expected so I furthered my run on the Lands End Trail for the first time and it was one of my best choices in the city! The trail itself was beautiful and there were plenty of spots to relax and enjoy the coast.

My family and I did this hike back in Feb and it was beautiful! We had done some research before hand and read that it was a great beginner hike and that anyone could complete it. So we took the plunge and took our whole family out (3 kids in stroller & 10 adults). Highly recommended walk/hike, but for sure not wheelchair & stroller friendly, there are sections that are too narrow or filled with stairs.

Hands down one of my all-time favorite places to go. I take all my friends from out of town here because you get stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Sutro Baths, and GG bridge.You really can't go wrong with this hike - the main trail is very accessible, but there are lots of offshoots you can explore, so it fits most levels of experience. If you're lucky, you may even see some whales or dolphins!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Mile Rock Beach

Crab Fishing at China Beach

Baker Beach

Baker Beach Sand Ladder

Sutro Baths Ruins

Camp at the Rob Hill Campground