• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking across the bay back towards San Francisco, seen in the distance.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

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  • Winter Surf Warning

    Every year people drown in the surf off Northern California beaches - don't let it be you! Be extra alert on park beaches during the winter storm season. Do not turn your back on the shoreline and watch for extra powerful “sneaker” waves.


Nature and Science

Coho salmon in Redwood Creek

Notice the anglers lined up on park beaches or piers, and you will begin to realize the bounty of fish in the we have here. Starting from the offshore waters of the Pacific ocean, a multitude of species travel along currents past and through the Golden Gate. The San Francisco Bay is a world of its own, supporting estuarine species that can handle the fluctuating salinity levels. Intertidal areas of the park also provide important spawning and rearing habitat for fish.

Commercially important species such as the Pacific herring spawn in Tomales Bay and along the rocky and vegetated shorelines of San Francisco Bay. Anchovy are the most abundant fish in the Bay, entering seasonally to forage and spawn, and are important to the economy of West Coast fisheries. The intertidal zone also supplies fishermen with surfperch, cabezons, blennies, rockfish, pricklebacks, mussels and sea urchins. Some estuarine fish caught by recreational anglers include brown smoothhound, pile surfperch and white croaker.

Coho salmon and steelhead trout maintain their annual migrations up Redwood Creek, Olema Creek and Lagunitas Creek. Sturgeon can still be found in lower Lagunitas Creek, Tomales Bay, and the San Francisco Bay-Estuary.

Did You Know?

Photo of Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis).

Alcatraz Island is the site of a large colony of Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis), the gull species that inhabits the Oregon and California coast. Individuals mate for life and come together each year on Alcatraz to defend their historic territory and raise three chicks.