Mile-long Baker Beach lies at the foot of rugged serpentine cliffs west of the Golden Gate. Large waves, undertow and rip currents make the beach unsafe for swimming, but it provides panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and Lands End. You can fish or check out the shorelife along the beach and rocky shoreline. Restrooms and picnic tables are nearby.
California State Rock: Serpentine
Outcrops of gray-green serpentine protrude among the cliffs between Fort Point and Baker Beach. Serpentine forms when rocks deep in the earth's crust are altered and forced to the surface. Serpentine yields soils unusually high in magnesium and low in calcium, which spur special adaptations among rare plant species.
The best views of San Francisco's serpentine cliffs are from the overlooks on Lincoln Boulevard, north of Baker Beach.