San Francisco Coastal Trail Hike at Lands End

by admin

The Deets

Location: San Francisco, CA
: Medium
Distance: 3.4 miles
Exposure: Partial Shade
Bikes Allowed: Yes
Dog Friendly:


Parking: Free – (Limited)
Yes – Plumbing
Doggie Bags:
 Yes – (At Trailhead Only)
Drinking Water:

Helpful Info

From Geary Blvd, veer right and continue on Point Lobos Ave. The Lands End Main Parking lot is on the right as you head down the hill. The trail head is just off the parking lot. There is also overflow parking at the USS San Francisco Memorial. 

Current Weather: San Francisco, CA

Trail Conditions: National Park Service

Best Time to Travel: Year Round

About this Hike

The California Coastal Trail extends nearly 1,200 miles. This little piece can be found just outside downtown San Francisco and is a great day trip. With amazing ocean views, cool weather, sandy beaches, and dog-friendly pathways, the Lands End hike is a must do! This 3.4 mile round trip hike starts at the Lands End Lookout and ends at Eagle Point. The trail is wide and well marked with signage. You should have no problem navigating here!

Sutros Baths

Start your hike at the Lands End Lookout and head down to the Sutros Baths. Constructed in 1894, the Sutros Baths were originally created as a natural salt water bath house with slides, trapezes, springboards, and a high dive.

Mile Rock Beach

From the main trail, you can head down to Mile Rock Beach. The beach has amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin County side of the bay, and awesome wave action. This is a perfect place to stop for a snack and snap an amazing photo!

Probably the most difficult part of this hike is the walk down the stairs to Mile Rock Beach. You drop nearly 100-125 feet in less than a quarter mile. If you bypass this bit of the hike, it’s practically flat the entire time. 

Mile Rock Lighthouse

From Mile Rock Beach you can see the Mile Rock Lighthouse. The lighthouse was established to help ships navigate the dangerous entrance to the San Francisco Bay.

Lots of Dogs

This hike is great if you want your dog to socialize and meet some new friends. However, despite the fact that Lands End is not a designated off-leash area, there seemed to be a lot of people that didn’t follow San Francisco dog-leash rules and instead let their dogs run off leash. These dogs were generally well behaved and good natured, but any uncontrolled dog is not helpful when you’re trying to train and control your dog – especially an excitable 80 pound good boy! 

Epic Ocean Views

All along the trail there are amazing views of the bay. Sometimes you have to stop and appreciate the beauty of it all. You might even see a pterodactyl!

Spectacular Plant Life

From lichen to lilies and pines to vines, this trail has a wide variety of plants to appreciate. Sometimes the best finds are tucked away and take some sleuthing to find.

Split off to Extend your Hike

There are various branch points on the main trail that wander off to other monuments and sights. Be adventurous and see where these other trails lead you! It is very easy to navigate and get back on track. 

Notes from the Dog

This hike had a new smell and I know smells, it’s like what I do. We drive for a long time and when I got out of my backseat I was cold and it was like still wind like from my window. The water around us kept moving and smelled tasty. This was a fun day for us, we got to play on rocks and walked and smelled a lot. There were a lot of people and dogs to smell. I love smells, it’s my passion. I’m tired from this walkie because we went up and down a lot of steps, but I fell asleep in my backseat and then we were home so I could sleep more on my bed. 


Don’t Want to Bum You Out, But…

These are some things to consider when going on this hike. In no way should these things prevent you from going, I just wanted you let you know!

  • Nearly the entire trail is lined with prickly fox tails. If your dog likes running around in the brush, be careful on this hike, especially in the dry months!
  • If you have an aggressive dog, be prepared for off-leash dogs from inconsiderate pet owners.

Additional Links

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