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Best trails in Fort Point National Historic Site

881 Reviews
Explore the most popular trails in Fort Point National Historic Site with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
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Map of trails in Fort Point National Historic Site
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Top trails (2)
#1 - Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge
Fort Point National Historic Site
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Length: 3.7 mi • Est. 1 h 37 m
Walk or bike across one of the most beautiful bridges with great views of the San Francisco Bay and the one of the longest suspension spans in the world. The Golden Gate Bridge, which spans from San Francisco to Marin County, is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful bridges in the world, and the opportunity to walk or bike across at least part of it should not be missed. The bridge spans a total length of 1.7 miles, but many people only walk to the first tower and back again. If you are feeling more adventurous, walk across the bridge and continue under the bridge up to the Hendrik Point vista point for a great view of the bridge with the San Francisco skyline in the background. You will also have a great view of Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge from here. From the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge you can continue into the Marin Headlands or head down into Sausalito along the Bay Trail. The Golden Gate Bridge was open to the public on May 28, 1937. The project was led by Joseph Strauss, who was the chief engineer in charge of the construction and design. However, many design components of the bridge, including the towers and the Art Deco elements, were designed by Irving Morrow, a relatively unknown architect. The official color of the bridge, international orange, was originally meant to be a primer for the bridge but the color has lasted as it provides visibility through fog. The Navy originally wanted the bridge to be black with yellow stripes. It spans the distance across the Golden Gate Strait, which connects San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean and is 90 feet wide. Its average height above the water is 220 feet, with the two towers rising up to 746 feet above sea level; more than 80,000 miles of wire were used in the bridge. The bridge cost $35 million to construct and was the longest suspension bridge in the world, holding the title almost 30 years until 1964 when it was overcome by the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York. Nineteen men fell off the bridge while it was being built, but there was a safety net in place to catch them. They were later known as the "Half Way to Hell Club" because of their near-death experiences. On its 50th anniversary the bridge was closed to cars and opened to pedestrians. The weight of the dense crowd was significantly more than the bridge is used to with cars (the cars are much more spaced out), and the curved bridge became temporarily flat until the weight was lifted. This is a must do, whether you are a Bay Area local or just visiting.Show more
#2 - Golden Gate and Pacific Overlooks
Fort Point National Historic Site
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Length: 0.7 mi • Est. 16 m
According to Access Northern California (http://accessnca.org/access-northern-california/explore/explore-detail-view/?site_id=131): Everyone who visits San Francisco wants to see the Golden Gate Bridge for the same reason that local residents are drawn to it again and again: the graceful Art Deco span is simply lovely against its dramatic backdrop of steep bluffs and the waters of the Golden Gate Strait. The bridge is also a masterwork of engineering, and the stories of its design and construction, as well as the science behind the structure, are fascinating. Then, of course, there's the trek out onto the span itself, with its extraordinary views of San Francisco, the East Bay, and Alcatraz and Angel islands. Some 10 million people drop by for a visit every year, so don't expect peace and quiet. The bridge plaza is often very crowded and the roadway and parking lot congested. Several broad, paved trails provide a variety of viewpoints, including some that reveal the Civil War-era Fort Point nestled under an arch under the bridge's south tower. Just below the plaza you can hook up to the Bay Trail/Presidio Promenade, which travels east to the Presidio's Lombard Street gate and to the Coastal Trail. Be sure to look for the many interactive exhibits and interpretive panels; some are clustered in an old gun battery at the plaza and a few are along the Presidio Promenade as it travels toward the Battery East parking lot. For additional spectacular views, you can hook up to the Coastal Trail west of the bridge and visit two overlooks along Lincoln Boulevard in the Presidio. The Bridge Pavilion, painted international orange like the bridge, has an information desk and some historical photos and exhibits but is primarily a gift shop. Nearby, a small cafe provides snacks and beverages. Guided tours depart daily from the Art Deco roundhouse building. Please note, Pacific Overlook has been closed indefinitely due to storm damage. Accessibility: The easiest access to the two overlooks and short stretch of trail that connects them is from the parking lot at Battery Godfrey, off Lincoln Boulevard just south of Golden Gate Overlook. Another lot below the overlook, off Merchant Road, also provides easy access. There is also accessible parking nearby the bridge plaza park in the nearby lot above Battery East (with a gravel surface). If you're visiting the Golden Gate Bridge Plaza, you can connect to the Coastal Trail and these overlooks by following the sidewalk through the tunnel below the bridge roadway, then along Cranston Road and Merchant Road to the Coastal Trail entry, but you will encounter a tight 90-degree turn between bollards and a moderately steep slope along the way (the distance from the bridge to the first overlook is 0.3 miles). Directly under the bridge, the Coastal Trail soon becomes inaccessible for wheelchair users. Some trail segments are moderately steep, including the ramp up to the Golden Gate Bridge walkway and the connector trails down to the Presidio Promenade and Coastal Trail - manual wheelchair users may need some assistance. You can also begin from the Merchant Road parking lot, as seen in this map route. Here you take the sidewalk along the back of the lot until you reach the entrance to the hard-packed dirt and gravel Coastal Trail, which winds up a moderately steep slope to the Golden Gate Overlook. From the platform at the top, look back the way you came for a sweeping view of the Golden Gate Strait and Marin Headlands - the bridge's two towers are lined up straight ahead of you. Most of the trail is four feet or wider, but if you follow the sidewalk from the Golden Gate Bridge Plaza to connect to the trail, you will encounter some narrower sections and one 90 degree turn. Some sections of the trail are asphalt or concrete, but mostly the surface is hard-packed dirt and gravel. The estimated grade is mostly gentle, all under 5%. The visitor center is wheelchair accessible and there are accessible bathrooms in the bridge plaza parking lot. Show more