Best trails in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California

17,690 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California? AllTrails has 104 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 69 moderate trails in Golden Gate National Recreation Area ranging from 0.8 to 15.1 miles and from 0 to 1,594 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is a U.S. National Recreation Area administered by the National Park Service that surrounds the San Francisco Bay area. It is one of the most visited units of the National Park system in the United States, with over 13 million visitors a year. It is also one of the largest urban parks in the world, with a size two-and-a-half times that of the consolidated city and county of San Francisco. The park is not one continuous locale, but rather a collection of areas that stretch from northern San Mateo County to southern Marin County, and includes several areas of San Francisco. The park is as diverse as it is expansive; it contains famous tourist attractions such as Muir Woods National Monument, Alcatraz, and the Presidio of San Francisco. The GGNRA is also home to 1,273 plant and animal species, encompasses 59 miles (95 km) of bay and ocean shoreline and has military fortifications that span centuries of California history, from the Spanish conquistadors to Cold War-era Nike missile sites.

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Map of trails in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California
Park information
Acreage:
74,820 acres
Park hours
Monday
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday
All day
Thursday
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Contact
(415) 561-4700
Top trails (104)
#1 - Lands End Trail
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1793)
Length: 3.4 mi • Est. 1 h 22 m
Lands End Trail explores the historic Sutro Baths and offers brilliant view of the Pacific. A must see for any visitor to San Francisco. This is the wildest, rockiest corner of San Francisco. A corner strewn with shipwrecks and a history of landslides. At the tip of Lands End is Point Lobos, named by the Spanish for its many lobos marinos (sea wolves), as the barks of those sea lions, as they are called today, drifted up from the rocks below. The sea lions have since relocated to the calmer waters of San Francisco Bay. Trails at Lands End offer a cliff-top walk through dark cypress and open grass and 30-mile views up and down the California coast. The craggy headlands that border the Golden Gate have always challenged developers. The rocky exposed bluffs, often windswept and cloaked in fog, have hampered attempts to tame this corner of San Francisco. Despite the terrain, this section of the Coastal Trail was once a railroad bed, and the adjacent street, El Camino del Mark, once extended through Lands End. The two roads led to the Cliff House, Sutro Baths, and Ocean Beach. Landslides eventually closed both routes.Show more
#2 - Rodeo Beach Coastal Trail Loop
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1270)
Length: 4.8 mi • Est. 2 h 35 m
The coastal Trail follow the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean. Great views for sunsets, remember a camera for this picturesque hike. Take the Coastal trail to the Miwok trail for unbelievable views of the Pacific Ocean and Rodeo Beach. Although steep, this hike is worth the effort.Show more
#3 - Mori Point Loop Trail
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1228)
Length: 2.5 mi • Est. 1 h 16 m
Just a short distance down the coast from the city of San Francisco, Pacifica is where the concrete truly ends and gives way to green hills and dramatic coastal scenery. Mori Point is a great place enjoy a sunset, do a spot of whale watching or simply enjoy the waves of the Pacific Coast washing up onto the shores. Remember to check out the ridgeline trail too, where you can see all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge on a clear day. Also, when savoring the splendor of the coastal bluffs of Mori Point in Pacifica you might want to bear in mind that the views here were so nearly very different. Developers have considered many plans for this land - condominiums, commercial development, an intersection for a new freeway extension and even a proposal to create a "Coney Island of the West" on the wetlands below. In 2000, the fervent efforts of the Pacifica Land Trust, California Coastal Conservency and the Trust for Public Land resulted in the purchase of the land and it was turned over to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for preservation and restoration. Alternatives: - Consider extending your hike North of Mori Point to Pacifica pier. - Trailspotting's Sweeney Ridge Guide connects Mori Point to the hills above Pacifica.Show more
#4 - Pirate's Cove
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(570)
Length: 3.6 mi • Est. 2 h
Excellent trail, well maintained and beautiful ocean views. If the suns out expect to be fully exposed as there is no shade. Be prepared that to get to Pirate's Cove, you will have to scramble down a rocky and dangerous section. The cove is small, rocky, and tightly bound by outcrops on either side. Exercise extreme caution and be mindful of tides, and keep an eye out for long recesses that may indicate the formation of a sneaker wave.Show more
#5 - Land's End Trail via Sutro Baths and Coastal Trail
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(859)
Length: 0.8 mi • Est. 20 m
According to Access Northern California (http://accessnca.org/access-northern-california/explore/explore-detail-view/?site_id=132): At San Francisco's northernwestern tip, this forested, windswept park is perched on steep bluffs overlooking the Golden Gate and Pacific shoreline. On a clear day, its sweeping views take in the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, Point Reyes, and the Farallon Islands, as well as the rocky shore below. The Coastal Trail here follows what's left of the bed of the old railway that Adolph Sutro built in the 1880s to bring day-trippers from downtown to Sutro Baths and the Cliff House. Rail service ended in 1925 after a landslide destroyed a section of track. Begin your visit at the park's western end, Point Lobos Overlook, where you can orient yourself at the visitor center. The visitor center sits directly above the former Sutro Baths and features a museum store, café, and educational and interpretive exhibits highlighting the natural landscape and cultural history of this site. From a promenade with benches that runs along the western edge of the parking lot, take a moment to look down on the ruins of Sutro Baths. Splashed with surf at high tide, the concrete slabs and stairs are all that remain of a grand glass-enclosed bathhouse, with fresh and saltwater pools, that stood here from 1890 to 1966, when it burned down. The difficulty rating for this trail is based on what the experience may be like for manual wheelchair or stroller users. From the northwestern end of the lot, you can follow the Coastal Trail north around Point Lobos for sweeping views of the Golden Gate. Another short hike leaves from the eastern edge of the Merrie Way parking lot, where a wide gravel path follows El Camino del Mar to the West Fort Miley parking lot and USS San Francisco memorial. A piece of the bridge of the Navy's heavy cruiser has been installed here in memory of those who fought and died on the ship in the World War II battle of Guadalcanal. ACCESSIBILITY: There are several designated handicapped-accessible spaces in the Merrie Way lot off Pt. Lobos Ave that are firm and have a 2% cross slope or less. There is a wheelchair-accessible bathroom in the Land's End Visitor Center (which is also wheelchair-accessible). In addition, accessible portable units are at the northeast corner of the parking lot for the USS San Francisco memorial, at the end of El Camino. From the plaza and seating area at its entrance, a broad paved trail winds up through a native plant garden that blooms thickly with wildflowers in the spring, including beach strawberry, paintbrush, lupin, buckwheat, and seaside daisies. As you climb, pause to look back at the ocean, Cliff House, and Seal Rocks through the trees; you may see structures of brush and branches piled in the forest below to provide shelter for birds. You soon come to a juncture with a broad, paved trail; follow it to the left. Monterey cypress and pine trees dominate here. Interpretive signs along the trail tell the area's history. After a short distance, you come to a paved, semicircular overlook with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. When the weather is nice this stretch of trail can be very busy, and many people stop to pose for photos. Access to the remnants of Sutro Baths is along the sidewalk on Point Lobos Ave. and then down a very steep approach with a severe cross slope. Adventurous motorized wheelchair riders have safely navigated this trail but it's advisable to do it with a companion. Across the street from the Point Lobos Overlook, wide and level decomposed-granite paths lead through Sutro Heights, a formally landscaped 18-acre park that was once the grounds of Adolph Sutro's mansion. Continue a short distance to a second overlook, where at low tide you may see remains of the Lyman Stewart and the Frank Buck, two of the many ships that have sunk along this rocky, foggy coast. The orange-and-white striped caisson perched on an offshore rock is the automated Mile Rocks lighthouse. Past this point, the pavement ends and the trail becomes rough and frequently muddy. Adventurous wheelchair riders may want to continue a short distance, but will soon come to a steep section and stairs. Near the California Palace of the Legion of Honor art museum in Lincoln Park, an overlook perched atop Eagles Point offers views of the Marin Headlands, Golden Gate Bridge, and on a clear day even Point Reyes. The hard-packed, quarter-mile dirt trail that leads from El Camino del Mar to the overlook is part of the Coastal Trail. You can follow it past the overlook a few hundred feet to a spot with better views of the Golden Gate Bridge, but just beyond that you come to a flight of stairs.Show more
#6 - Coastal Trail, Miwok Trail, and Bonita Lighthouse Loop
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(341)
Length: 8.5 mi • Est. 4 h 23 m
NOTE: No dogs on the Point Bonita Trail portion leading to the lighthouse. The Point Bonita Lighthouse is only open Sun-Mon 1230p-330p.Show more
#7 - Mori Point and Sweeney Ridge Loop Trail via Skyline College
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(440)
Length: 9.4 mi • Est. 5 h 18 m
This is a nice trek along the Ridge and then down to the coast and looping back up to the Ridge. Awesome views. Dogs are not allowed on the trail between Skyline College and Sweeney Ridge as it is a butterfly reserve.Show more
#8 - Kirby Cove
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(274)
Length: 3 mi • Est. 1 h 35 m
Kirby Cove is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in the Marin Headlands, just west of the Golden Gate Bridge and is located eight miles north of downtown San Francisco, at historic Battery Kirby. The moderate 2 mile round-trip trail and cove offer views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the northern California Pacific Coast. The Cove features a pristine coarse-sand beach with great views - when it's not foggy - of the Golden Gate Bridge and northern San Francisco. The steep, mile-long trail to the cove begins at the parking area above Battery Spencer on Conzelman Road. The path descends through Monterrey pines and cypress, Blue Gum eucalyptus, coastal sage and colorful Lupine along the hillsides. Temperatures are usually between 50-55 degrees for the lows and 60-65 for the highs. Fog is prevalent in the summer months from May-Sept. Hiking, picnicking and taking in the awesome views from Kirby Cove are the park's most popular activities. Battery Kirby is a historic army battery used from 1898-1934. Kirby Cove offers four overnight camping sites and one day-use picnic site, all reached via driving the steep access road. The day-use site is available as an accessible camping/picnic site to persons with physical disabilities. Campsites are available for use only by prior reservation but anyone can walk down the road to enjoy the vistas and picnic on the bluffs or beach. Show more
#9 - Tennessee Valley Golden Gate Loop Trail
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(406)
Length: 5.5 mi • Est. 3 h 5 m
Take the Tennessee Valley trail all the way to Muir Beach. After a stroll through the headland valleys, nothing is better than dipping your toes into the cool Pacific. Show more
#10 - Sweeney Ridge Trail via Mori Ridge
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(657)
Length: 4.6 mi • Est. 2 h 35 m
This hike connects to the Sweeny Ridge which offers excellent views of the Pacific Ocean. This area can often have lots of coastal fog, be prepared for all situations. The Mori Ridge trail climbs steadily up through over 1,000 feet of height - some of which is steep enough to make a regular walking gait difficult, and only the most kamikaze trail runner would attempt. This trail is a perfect choice for an out-and-back trail, if you're planning to head back as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean, and the unencumbered views are nothing short of stunning.Show more
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