San Francisco - Land’s End Park


The Lands’ End Park is located on the northwest corner of San Francisco.

The park Cypress Forest cover the hills and steep ragged, rocky cliffs plunge to the ocean below.

The park is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Land’s End's trails wind their way through the thick Cypress Forest on the rocky cliffs above the ocean. As you hike you will find many viewpoints of the ocean, headlands, and Golden Gate Bridge.


Where to start your visit:

There is a new visitor center & gift shop near the large parking lot at 680 Point Lobos Ave (just above the Cliff House and Sutro Baths Site).

There are few other nearby parking lots, El Camino del Mar Parking Lot and along the west side of Point Lobos Av.

Link to the park visitor center and parking lot.



The park is open year around.

In summer days it can be covered with fog at the morning and during afternoon early evening you should expect much lower temperatures compare to mid-day.

The trail is exposed to wind and rain during winter days.



The visit:

The park main trail is The Coastal Trail.

It starts at the west, just above the Cliff House, then winds along the ocean front all the way north to it end (or start) in the Sea Cliff neighborhood (not so far from China Beach).

There are some paved sections in the trail but most of the trail is dirt path with a couple of steep stairways.

The trail is about 1.5 miles long end to end one-way and you can cover one direction, including Lands’ End Lookout, in about an hour. From the trail north end you need to hike back the same way you came.

You can continue north and visit China Beach or you can visit the nearby Legion of Honor museum.

You can also start from the north end of the trail. there is no importance to the direction of your hike.

From the main trail you can take a side trail going steeply down to Lands’ End Lookout and Mile Rock Beach.

From here, when it is not foggy, you will have the best view of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge.

If you are looking straight north across the bay, you can see Point Bonita Lighthouse at the edge of Marin Headlands.


In the past you can enjoy the large stone labyrinth in Lands End Lookout (just above Mile Rock Beach) but the last time I visit here (Nov. 2022) it was removed completely.


When visiting the park, you can also visit USS San Francisco Memorial near El Camino del Mar Parking Lot.


You can visit the nearby Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum.



Do not walk close to the edges and stay on official trails. The cliffs are unstable and there is a 200-foot drop to the rocks below. Few people lost their life here in the past 10 years.



When visiting this park, you can find a lot of parking lots near the park visitor center. As always in San Francisco, do not leave visible or valuable items in your car.

Public bathrooms are available at the information center or near El Camino del Mar Parking Lot.



Bikes are not allowed on the main section of the Coastal Trail, so if you are coming with your bike from the north you need to lock them at the north trail entrance or bypass the park and ride to the southwest section of the trail near the visitor center.



This is a dog friendly park.


Few more things to see:


Sutro Baths

The historic Sutro Baths are located on the west section of the park.

This was once a huge structure covered saltwater swimming facility built in the 19th century by former San Francisco mayor Adolph Sutro.

The structure was destroyed by fire in 1966, the foundations are still visible on the rocks north of the Cliff House.

During 1888 - 1925 a railway line was operative from the city to this location.

Today you can walk down to the old pools remaining, enjoy the beach, explore the small cave on the north cliff base and walk to the viewing platform the rock edge.


Just at the base of the cliff above the pools you can see the entrance to small cave that lead to an opening on it far side.
No need for flashlights but be carful from the middle of the cave opening to the see below.  


Cliff House

The Cliff House is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area but as of 2020 the restaurant that operate here for many years is permanently closed.

From the Cliff House you can enjoy the ocean view, looking south down at the long stretch of San Francisco largest sandy Beach, a popular beach during summertime.

Behind the Cliff House you can find a small building that is Camera Obscura.

This structure is devices like a camara which project an image of the surroundings onto a surface. The Camera Obscura is located here since the mid-19th century.

During all times that I visit here it was close, so I do not know exactly when it is open.



China Beach

This is a small hidden small cove sandy beach with tide pools access at the west side.

You can drive up to the small parking lot above the beach and walk down the stairs to the old, closed building.

The beach name origin from the fact that it was once used as a campsite for Chinese fishermen.

From this beach there is a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

There are rocky cliffs in both sides of the beach, and you can’t walk from here north to Baker beach.



Whale Watching:

Lands’ End Park is an excellent location to see whale, this is their migration route along the coastline, which gives us a great opportunity to get a look at them as they go by.

I once even saw wale swimming into San Francisco Bay below the Golden Gate Bridge.

Whale Migration Schedule:

Humpbacks: May through November.

Gray Whales, Orcas: December through May.

Blue Whales: July through December.


Link to the park website:


Additional Pictures: