Lands End National Recreation Area

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General Information

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

Distance: N/A

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.


Other Plants

Camping Possibilities

Other Information

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.

Driving Directions

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

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Hiking or Walking Groups Nearby

Group Name: test

Group Description: test

Group Name: Jill and Sula's Hiking Group

Group Description: Fun, social, urban hikes that end in a pub.

Group Name: GRN Hike

Group Description: Hiking!

Group Name: Sacramento Backpacking

Group Description: Sacramento-area based group with a preference for multiple-day excursions into the backcountry.

Group Name: Hiking Pacifica Coast

Group Description: Hiking in Pacifica. Splendid views on a sunny day. Hikes range 4 to 7 miles - some elevation (up to 625). Eat/drink at local places.

Group Name: Sonoma County Wanderers

Group Description: This is a hiking group for the intermediate hiker! For a hiker that enjoys a relaxed pace, conversation, picture taking and the journey as much as the destination. We usually do between 4 and 10 miles with moderate elevation gain.
Come join us!

Group Name: Milpitas Social Group

Group Description: This group is for all ages!! We do things from San Francisco to Santa Barbara and occasionally all the way to Los Angeles. Dinners, pot lucks, hikes, walks, bikes, camping, happy hours, treat yourself to a massage/spa treatment. Run into old friend! Everybody has to eat and exercise sometime – might as well do it in good company of others. As we see it, one of the reasons to create this group is for singles of all ages to get together and have fun. Struggling with Divorce? Meet other persons who are either anticipating or are in the midst of divorce, custody, or support-related issues and need some direction. Just broke up with a boyfriend/girlfriend. Well join the group! …or just killing times until Mr/Ms. "RIGHT" comes along! To those newly singled and are yet unsure what they want to do with their lives. We suggest a period of experimental single of growth where you can try a variety of new things, new friends, new attitudes etc... You just need to find what ....

Group Name: Muir Woods and Marin Hiking

Group Description: hiking in Muir Woods and other nearby areas. There is even a trail with a small bar at the end of it - join us!

Group Name: Before Work Hiking

Group Description: This is a group for short morning hikes

Group Name: Roam the Woods: Women Specific Backpacking

Group Description: Get Trail Smart! Roam offers one and two week backpacking learning vacations for women. We utilize National Parks and Wilderness areas across the U.S. as our "classroom". Have you ever wanted to see glacier fed lakes, long distance trails, dormant volcanoes, waterfalls, lush meadows, mountain streams, awe inspiring peaks…and have the confidence to accept every lesson Mother Nature provides? Roam will show you the way! Visit: www.roamthewoods.com for more information

Group Name: North Bay Hikes

Group Description: We are Santa Rosa-based, most outings are in Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties. Mostly hiking, some paddling, camping, biking etc. See pictures and a list of past outings on our website. Click "Join NorthBayHikes.com" to sign up for email invitations to our outings.

Group Name: Amazon HIking and Adventure Group

Group Description: Fairfield, CA based Women's Hiking & Outdoor Adventure Group! The Amazon Group is a group for meeting other Women in their 20's and 30's who enjoy hiking, outdoors, and fitness. This group is for healthy/fit women who love to be outdoors and enjoy activities like: Hiking, backpacking, river-rafting, kayaking, and camping! Whether you are an experienced hiker or have never hiked before, join us! Other events include girl's night outs, hanging out, and day trips to fun new places. We also often stop at nearby places for good brews, food and conversation after hikes. Have fun while getting fit! Make new friends! Take time out of your busy life and get outside, and meet new people.

Group Name: San Francisco Hiking Group

Group Description: Scenic hikes and challenging rock climbing along the Bay with views of the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge, Presidio, and Sausalito. Good way to make friends with San Francisco locals and enjoy some good hiking!

Group Name: Snowdogs

Group Description: Hiking, Running, Skiing/Snowboarding and other outdoor activities

Group Name: test group

Group Description: Group for testing

Group Name: Bay Area Birders

Group Description: This group is for birding people in the San Francisco Bay area. I figure we can open it to everyone. I will not be the "leader", but I hope that each of you will step forward now and then to lead some kind of outing. Roy

Group Name: Weekday hiking on the San Francisco peninsula

Group Description: This is for our private group

Group Name: Experiment Hiking Group's Page

Group Description: Creating an experimental hiking group. This group's hikes are tough :)

Group Name: Very challenging hike group

Group Description: Experienced hiker group who look for difficult, long and challenging hikes to get really great exercise, get in great shape and have a great workout!

Group Name: Downtown Embarcadero Exercise Group

Group Description: Group of professionals who can walk along the scenic Embarcadero from Market along the bay to Fishermans Wharf. We can start at 6pm at the Ferry Building which is at the end of Market street crossing Embarcadero. Address: 1 Ferry Building # 35 San Francisco, CA 94111-4230

Group Name: Bank Holiday Land's End Hiking

Group Description: This group is for hikers who get Holidays off from work, such as Veterans Day, Columbus Day, Labor Day, etc. and want to spend the morning on a stroll in scenic Land's End! We meet on Bank Holidays at 10:15 on the North West Corner of 27th Avenue and California. Reminders will be posted on the hiking event calendar.

Group Name: Bay Area Outdoor Volunteering

Group Description: This group is for people who want to be active and participate in helping to build trails, sustainable farming projects, planting trees, and working with other outdoor organizations and parks.

Group Name: Winter Snowshoe Hikes/Campouts

Group Description: If you own snowshoes and/or enjoy backcountry nordic skiing, this group might be for you. I'd like to plan Truckee/Tahoe snowshoe hikes (maybe also up north towards Lassen) this season 2010-2011. Members are not expected to be triathletes, but should be sufficiently fit to handle cold weather challenges. As excursions may include overnighters, I'd like to invite those who are conservation-minded and wouldn't think twice about picking up garbage they might see on the trail. Weekday trips are also in the works.

Upcoming Hikes

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Past Hikes

Ultra Long Hike Which Requires Training | 0.5 km away

Date: Sunday, 3-7-2010

Description: I want to train with some people to do a really long and strenuous hike - maybe around 30+ miles. Maybe find some record to break :) Any ideas?

Castle Rock waterfall hike | 44.8 km away

Date: Tuesday, 1-4-2011

Description: Meet: 10am at Edgewood Rd. & I280 Park & Ride or 10:15am in Cupertino in the Homestead Square shopping center near the Homestead Square sign on Homestead Rd. or 10:45am at the main entrance 2.5 miles south of the junction of Hwy 35 and 9 ($8 to park in the lot, or you can park along the road outside at no cost)

Rancho San Antonio Tuesday hike | 38.7 km away

Date: Tuesday, 1-18-2011

Description: This hike near Cupertino, in one of the most popular parks on the peninsula/south bay, offers great views of the bay area. Bring plenty of your favorite beverage, sun protection, and lunch or a snack. We'll hike to the bench at the top of the PG&E trail. Directions: From 280 just north of 85, take Foothill Blvd. toward the hills, right at the first light onto Cristo Rey Dr., then around and out the far side of the traffic circle. Turn left when you see the sign for Rancho San Antonio County Park. Follow the entrance road to the right past several parking areas, then left down the hill to a bigger parking area. If that's full, park in one of the lots back up the hill.

Shipwreck Hunt During Low Tide | 0 km away

Date: Saturday, 1-29-2011

Description: The original shipwreck hunt was a very popular event, so we are scheduling another event to see the two ships that can be spotted in the ocean during low tide! We will meet at: 870 El Camino Del Mar, San Francisco, California That is the trailhead. The hike is 2 miles each way. The terrain is pretty easy, but in the middle there are few mid-sized hills. Here is a page describing Lands End: http://www.hikingsanfrancisco.com/san_francisco_hikes/lands_end_national_park.php

Tuesday hike | 66.5 km away

Date: Tuesday, 2-1-2011

Description: Henry Coe is the second-largest state park in California. Thanks to Ann for suggesting this park east of Morgan Hill for a change. This will be a 9-miler with about 1500' of elevation gain. We'll explore several of the trails in the western section. Bring a pole for creek crossing, lunch, plenty of water or other suitable hiking beverage, shoes with good traction, and a jacket or suitable clothing in case it's cold and/or windy. Meeting locations: 10am Edgewood P&R 10:30 Homestead Square in Cupertino

Alviso Slough loop | 37.5 km away

Date: Sunday, 2-6-2011

Description: Meeting point Alviso Marino park - there must be parking there.It is easy hike 9-10 miles along Alviso slough. It is 100% flat. Hope it will be good bird watching opportunities. You can bring small lunch with you or we may decide to try Alviso town restaraunt

Tuesday hike | 34.3 km away

Date: Tuesday, 2-8-2011

Description: Meet 10am Edgewood P&R near, 10am Homestead Square shopping center Cupertino, 10:15 Page Mill P&R, or 10:30 at Orchard Glen picnic area in the park.

Water and restrooms at the start.

park map: http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=8505

back to Page Mill & I280 by 3:30.

Shipwreck Hunt Hike | 0 km away

Date: Sunday, 2-13-2011

Description: Since this was such a popular event last time, we will be doing this hike again. The hike is scheduled specifically during a time of low tide when tops of two drowned ships can be seen. One ship is during the middle of the hike and the other ship is at the end of the hike. The event is free, but donations on the site or at the event are appreciated since it takes a lot of time and effort to organize the event. Here is a link to Lands End to see what you can expect: http://www.hikingsanfrancisco.com/san_francisco_hikes/lands_end_national_park.php Children are welcome on this hike, but must be closely supervised by their parents.

Pulgas Ridge/Edgewood Tuesday hike | 24.6 km away

Date: Tuesday, 2-15-2011

Description: Here's my tried and true hike for threatening weather. Showers or rain are expected Tuesday, so I've picked this two-parter in case it becomes more than showers. Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve and Edgewood County Park hike Tue February 15 10:30am-3pm 4 or 8 miles, 800 or 1600 feet elevation gain Meet 10am at Homestead Square shopping center in Cupertino. Meet next to Homestead Rd. near the Homestead Square sign. or meet 10:30am at the Pulgas Ridge parking lot (directions below) Edgewood County Park info http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/smc/department/home/0,,5556687_12305995_12328420,00.html Pulgas Ridge info http://openspace.org/preserves/pr_pulgas_ridge.asp Here's a great combination hike, with gentler trails than I typically lead. We'll start at Pulgas Ridge, where we'll hike up, down and around through this Open Space preserve. Then we'll head across Edgewood Rd. to Edgewood Park, where we'll have lunch near the restrooms. After lunch, we'll hike up around the rid ....

Cannons, Ecology and Palace of Fine Arts Hike at the Presidio | 1.9 km away

Date: Sunday, 2-20-2011

Description: This will be a really beautiful and historic hike through the Presidio. We will meet at the Arguello Gate, walk along the Ecology Trail, then through the army base to see the old Officers Homes and a display of historic cannons used by the army. We will then go to the Palace of Fine Arts for a break and a little snack (10-20 minutes), and then we will head back. Here is some information about the Presidio: http://www.hikingsanfrancisco.com/san_francisco_hikes/the_presidio.php

Shipwreck Hunt Hike | 0 km away

Date: Sunday, 2-27-2011

Description: Since this was such a popular event last time, we will be doing this hike again. The hike is scheduled specifically during a time of low tide when tops of two drowned ships can be seen. One ship is during the middle of the hike and the other ship is at the end of the hike. The event is free, but donations on the site or at the event are appreciated since it takes a lot of time and effort to organize the event. Here is a link to Lands End to see what you can expect: http://www.hikingsanfrancisco.com/san_francisco_hikes/lands_end_national_park.php Children are welcome on this hike, but must be closely supervised by their parents.

Presidio Ridge Trail To Golden Gate Bridge | 1.9 km away

Date: Sunday, 3-13-2011

Description: This will be mid-difficulty hike. We will meet at the Arguello gate and hike along the (relatively newly built) Ridge Trail which is very scenic. The hike goes to the bottom of Golden Gate Bridge.

Once we get to the bridge, we will go back along the same path to where we started.

Arrowhead Marsh Bird Walk | 14.9 km away

Date: Sunday, 3-20-2011

Description: This walk is by Arrowhead Marsh near the Oakland Airport. The area is popular with birders because of winter waterfowl population, and frequent sighting of California Clapper Rails. We meet at 1:00 pm in the main parking lot. From 880, head toward the Oakland Airport. Turn right at Pardee Drive, then left on Swan Way, and right to enter the park. Ignore the first 2 parking areas, and continue to the end of the road by the observation tower. Approach the water. I will be sitting on the fishing dock, wearing a dorky white hat with a cape. High tide is at 1:42 pm, offering a good change of seeing a clapper rail or two. If that fails, we can try again in the late afternoon. Meanwhile, we can wander about various pond and shoreline areas to observe a variety of waterfowl. Here is a link to park information and a park map. http://www.ebparks.org/parks/mlk All walking is level and paved. Bicycles are allowed. Distance depends on what we care to do. The loop around the New Marsh and seasonal p ....

Lost in the Presidio Hike Adventure | 1.9 km away

Date: Sunday, 3-27-2011

Description: This will be an experimental hike where we take trails we don't really know and see if we get lost, and can find our way back. Do not worry! The Presidio is not very big and I know it pretty well. So really, we won't be very lost. But it will be fun to orient ourselves and see if we can figure out different trails in a somewhat unusual and experimental situation where everyone can contribute. We will meet at the Arguello gate. There is plenty of parking on the streets there.

Musical Chairs Presidio Hike | 1.9 km away

Date: Saturday, 4-2-2011

Description: To make the hike more fun and social, we will do some experiments with playing musical chairs with whom you hike next to, and who leads the hike. The focus will be on making it fun, healthy, social, and creative. Game suggestions are welcome The hike will be through many different Presidio trails. There is plenty of parking on the streets.