• 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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    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.

Sweeney Ridge

View of Sweeney Ridge.
View of Sweeney Ridge.
NPS/Doug Atmore
 

Sweeney Ridge is a hilly hiking area of ridges and ravines between San Bruno and Pacifica, about a 25-minute drive south from San Francisco. The ridge's 1,200-foot-high summit, covered with coastal scrub and grassland, slopes down to the bay on one side and to the Pacific on the other.

Wildlife at Sweeney Ridge includes hawks, deer, and a plethora of both native and introduced spring wildflowers. The sandy coastline and adjacent wind-protected valley of Thornton State Beach are good venues for picnicking, beach walking, surf fishing, and flying remote-control gliders.

The entrance to the beach is just south of Fort Funston. Park on Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) at the gate across from John Daly Boulevard.

Tips and Highlights

  • Bike to the Bay Discovery site on the paved Sneath Lane Trail. Drive-through visits to the Discovery Site can be arranged for those with mobility impediments.
  • Park rangers lead a number of Sweeney Ridge walks with special themes. Call the Fort Funston Ranger Station for details.
  • On Sweeney's crest, look for the stone plaque honoring Portola's expedition.
  • A nearby granite monument directs you to views from this scenic San Francisco Bay Discovery Site, including the Farallon Islands, Mount Tamalpais, Point Reyes, Mount Diablo, the Montara Mountains, and San Pedro Point.

Did You Know?

Horseshoe Cove at Fort Baker

During World War II, Fort Baker’s Horseshoe Cove was home to the Mine Planting Depot, where soldiers loaded dynamite into electrically-triggered mines that were then arranged in the water just outside the Golden Gate Bridge.