Land’s End and the Batteries to Bluffs Trail

Date Hiked: 9/7/13
Distance: Land’s End half loop (1.5 miles); Batteries to Bluffs (.75 miles)
Difficulty: Easy
Best Season: Spring or Fall for clearer days and great views of the Golden Gate Bridge

I’m sure you’ve heard the old Mark Twain saying, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” While it’s not true that Twain asserted this, the assertion remains true — Summers in San Francisco are notoriously cold, foggy, and dreary. Because of this, warm, sunny days that begin in September, draw everyone out into fresh air, which is what happened the day we hiked the Land’s End trail.

We’d originally planned for a quick, three-mile walk in the Presidio, but we ended up starting at Land’s End and hiking all the way down to Marshall Beach via the Batteries to Bluffs Trail.


Starting at Land’s End near The Cliff House and China Beach, we headed north towards the GGB. The trails were well groomed and pretty packed with people and amazingly clear views of the bridge, even through the spokes of this bicycle.

San Francisco was at its best, with all of our interesting, unique, beautiful people milling about, which made for great people watching! I couldn’t imagine living in a more unique, accepting, and wonderful place.

China Beach crowds really show up on warm days!

Land’s End is a loop, and we hiked through the upper portion, but instead of turning back to complete the loop via the lower portion, we stopped at China Beach for a quick snack of lemon bars and for people watching. China Beach was, not surprisingly, packed with people that uncharacteristically warm day. What an amazing beach view of that bridge, though, yes?

From there, we left the Land’s End trail and walked through the San Francisco “suburbs” to connect with the Batteries to Bluffs trail. We passed Robin Williams’s abode, enjoyed the beautiful architecture, and I’m pretty sure I got my photo taken by someone’s security camera. There’s nothing like walking through palatial, security-ridden homes to really humble you; however, that only whetted our ambition. We all decided to someday buy houses here within walking distance of each other. Really. Seriously. Don’t believe us? Well, you’re probably right, but one can dream.

The Batteries to Bluffs trail begins along the San Francisco coast a little south of Baker Beach, continues past some artillery batteries, and provides breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge along some really beautifully rocky sea cliffs.

Fact: Baker Beach is known as San Francisco’s nude-ish/nudist beach! Here we are enjoying the view of the beach as well as some interesting “landscaping.”

Check out this awesome shot Paul caught of one of the artillery batteries.

Breathtaking view of the bridge from Marshall Beach on the Batteries to Bluffs trail. The trails here take you right onto the edge of serpentine cliffs where you’ll really feel part of the San Francisco landscape. Unlike Baker Beach, which can be bustling and busy, Marshall Beach provides a quieter, more contemplative atmosphere where you can really soak the the dramatic, rugged coastlines.

From there, we headed back to our starting point, making the little trip a quick, 4.5 mile, out-and-back hike and a great start to what was soon to be a warm San Francisco summer!