Lands End National Recreation Area
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Land's End Golden Gate National Recreation Area has a number of beautiful mid-length hikes along the northwest corner of San Francisco. Land's End is particularly special because of its serenity where all you hear are sounds of the crashing waves along the coastline or the bustle of leaves in the wind. Land's End has incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge, so bring your camera along on the hike for picture perfect memories!!! One note is that Land's End contains some hills with stairs, so please be prepared for an uphill challenge!
Trailhead Name: Lands End Trailhead
Trailhead Description: The trailhead has a marking in a big billboard that it is the trailhead. It is at the bottom of the hill from the museum, and is at El Camino Del mar. Plenty of street parking is nearly always available.
Parking is available at this trailhead
Parking spots: 100
Parking is NOT free at this trailhead
Access to trail is wheelchair accessible
Restrooms available: YES
Routes and Trails You Can Travel
Route Name: Hike From Lands End to Fort Funston
Route Description: A Hike all along the
Total elevation gain: N/A
Total elevation loss: N/A
As you walk through Lands Ends, you will see that you are basically walking along a cliff. At the bottom of the cliff are crashing ocean waves and treacherous-looking rocks. Throughout the last 160 years, there have been over 300 ships that have crashed on those rocks and drowned. Many of those shipwrecks resulted in people drowning and a number of ships were quite large. Today, you can still see some of the remains of those ships during low tide.
- Since 2006, the park is wheelchair accessible
- Dogs ARE allowed on the trails. A leash is required, but as a frequent hiker there, I see 30% of the dogs without leashes. Just make sure your dog is well-behaved.
The main trail for Land's End hiking starts at the end of El Camino Del Mar. Visitors are immediately treated to stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin, and the vast open spaces of the Pacific Ocean. It is a good spot to take pictures, but it is just the beginning of what is to come. On sunny weekend days there are many sail boats in the bay right below Golden Gate Bridge, which ads a beautiful little touch to the already world-renowned vista.
The main trail leads along the cliffs and is surrounded by shrubbery and small trees. Every once in a while the shrubbery becomes less dense and the vast open spaces of the Pacific Ocean can be seen. It is rare not to see at least one gigantic freighter ship coming into the San Francisco and Oakland ports. Lucky visitors can occasionally spot military ships or even submarines. But that is quite rare.
The main trail is only about a mile or two long and it does not loop. The main trail ends close to Ocean Beach area and the Sutro Baths. To go back, hikers usually retrace their steps. Adventurous hikers can take a detour trail through the golf course, or the small trails that often pop up as possible forks in the road.
Climate and Weather
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The Richmond district was one of the last parts of San Francisco to become developed. Land's End remains one of the last mostly-undeveloped parts of the city where people can see San Francisco in its original form.
Few places along San Francisco's Pacific Ocean coast even have remains of three shipwrecks. Mile Rock and Point Lobos have treacherous rocks with only the tips exposed. The tips of the ship can be seen only during low tide, so if you want to see the ship, check the tide schedule or check whether we are leading any of the hikes through this area during low tide. In 1937, a freighter name Ohioan hit a rock at Point Lobos on a foggy night. In 1922 and 1937, the Lyman Stewart and the Frank Buck each crashed into the rocks off Lands End. During low tide, it is still possible to see the freighter Ohioan's stern post and boilers. To see the shipwreck, head start at the Merrie Way parking lot and head down the stairs. To the northwest lies the remains of the shipwreck.
Overall there have been about 10 different ships that met their end on the rocks of Lands End. There are photos of the shipwrecks and names of all the ships posted on the signs at the park.
Some of the large ships which crashed on the rocks off San Francisco's Lands End and drowned
- Golden Fleece, 1854
- General Crushing, 1858
- Granada, 1860
- Frank Jones, 1877
- Caroline Amelia, 1850
- Viscata, 1868
- Coos Bay, 1927
- Eiko, 1881
- Scah Jehan, 1867
- George Lewis, 1882
- Lyman Stewart, 1922
- Frank Buck, 1937 (large oil tanker which crashed into another ship named President Coolige. The ship President Coolige survived.)
- Ohioan, 1936
- Eliza, 1871
- Josephine Wilcutt, 1872
- Parallel, 1887
- Brignardello, 1868
- Scah Jehan, 1867
- Ann Perry, 1865
- Yosemite, 1926
The area used to also be home to Native Indians. A tribe called the Ohlone Indians used to make this area their home and some of the signs in the park claim that some of their things are scattered throughout the park and can be seen.
Being so close to the Pacific Ocean, the area is home to diverse and interesting wildlife. Many birds hover over the park including the fascinating Red Tail Hawk. There are a large number of different plants ant types of vegetation, including the ever popular California Poppy Flowers.
Common birds are different types of gulls and Red-Tail hawks which can sometimes be spotted. Many people refer to the gulls that they spot here as seagulls because logically, when you are at Lands End, you are near a big body of water. To the surprise of many people, there is no such species as seagulls. There are many birds in the family of Gulls, but none of them is Seagull.
Common trees in the area are Cypress trees.
It is unusual for a hiking spot to also be the home of a gorgeous museum full of paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, Fra Angelico, El Greco, Watteau, Gainsborough, Bouguereau, Matisse, and Picasso. The museum itself is surrounded by sculptured like "the Thinker" and a beautifully decorated lawn area with modern and classical looking art. There is also a holocaust memorial near the entrance, tucked away nearby.
There is plenty of parking on nearby streets and along the road. On most weekends people find no problem finding a nice parking spot.
El Camino Del Mar,
San Francisco, CA 94121
There are a few buses that go to Land's End.
- 18 Bus - this bus stops right at the Legion of Honor museum. From there, the trail-head is down the hill, or many other trails can be entered from smaller paths.
- 38 Geary Bus - best to get off around 32nd ave and head north. On Clement there is an entrance into the park via the golf course. Go up to the museum and after that to the many different trails.
- 1 California Bus - this bus does not go into the park, but stops right next to it. Probably best to get of around 30th ave and California, and walk north until El Camino Del Mar. On El Camino Del Mar turn left and that should take you to the trailhead for Land's End Golden Gate National Recreation Area