At the northwestern corner of San Francisco, there is wild and windy trail with stunning views at every turn.
Highlights include hillsides of cypress and wildflowers, views of shipwrecks and access to the ruins of Sutro baths, a San Francisco special memory. The Spanish named Lands End's westernmost promontory "Point Lobos," for the many lobos marinos (sea wolves, a.k.a. sea lions) that once hauled up on the rocks offshore. The rocks are now roosts for cormorants and oystercatchers, among other shorebirds.
Trails & Attractions
When hiking in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, stay on trails and keep your distance from cliffs.
- Walk north along the edge of the city-and the continent-on the Coastal Trail.
- Scan San Francisco from the Legion of Honor overlook and return via the El Camino Del Mar Trail.
- Check out the memorial to the USS San Francisco-a WWII cruiser that sustained 45 hits and 25 fires during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942-and the newly improved adjacent overlook.
- The West Fort Miley batteries offer a grassy picnic area among three turn-of-the-century gun emplacements.
The history of Lands End, located at the city's edge, tells the story of San Francisco's urban development and the pressures and opportunities to provide city dwellers with outdoor recreational fun. In 1863, developers constructed the first Cliff House as a destination restaurant where visitors could enjoy the dramatic ocean views first hand. During the late 19th century, Adolph Sutro developed this undeveloped land into an expansive public area. Overtime, he established the Sutro Heights gardens, the Sutro Baths, rebuilt the second Cliff House, developed the Sutro Pleasure Grounds at Merrie Way and managed a private railroad company to help transport people out to this area. In 1897, this was also a site that was the focus of an early civil rights case, Harris vs. Sutro, which placed San Francisco at the heart for the fight against separate but equal during the Jim Crow Era.
Visit Vestiges of Lands End, a digital guidebook of historic places, stories, events, artifacts, landscapes and geology.