Last updated: November 7, 2021
The trailhead at Merrie Way features a large parking lot (with priority spaces for hybrid vehicles), bathrooms, a café and visitor center where you'll find map displays of area trails. The good news is it's free to park here and the easiest access point to the 2.9 mile out-and-back Coastal Trail.
The Coastal Trail, a section of the longer California Coastal Trail, follows the railbed of the old Cliff House Railway. It's the most popular trail in the Lands End area with both locals and visitors from around the world. The entire trail is fairly non-strenuous, flat terrain with great views of the Golden Gate among cypresses and coastal scrub. The first part of the trail is wheelchair accessible all the way to the Mile Rock Overlook, and bike accessible until the Eagle's Point steps. A spur trail takes users to Mile Rock Point and Mile Rock Beach, which offer views of the Golden Gate.
This revitalized trail features diverse, native plant habitat. Along with the requisite views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, hikers and wildlife enthusiasts are in for a world class treat. Keep your eyes peeled for marine mammals and birds-cormorants and oystercatchers are staple species-as well as landscape features like the famous Cliff House, Sutro Bath ruins and the Palace of the Legion of Honor.
Despite the relative ease of the trail, be careful! There are some rugged spots, especially near Eagle's Point where the rocky cliffs can be treacherous and windy.