Lands End: Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

Lands End runs along the coast between the historic Cliff House and the mouth of the Golden Gate. I visited in 2017 with some cousins who live in the Bay Area. We drove right from the airport to the Lands End Lookout Visitor Center. This center wasn’t here on my previous visits to the bay area and is one of the newer additions to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


We had lunch in the Lookout Café attached to the NPS visitor center. They had some nice sandwiches, tuna and pasta salads to choose from as well as organic teas. We ate standing at the bar near the window for fear of being attacked by the birds outside.

We’d been fortunate to dine at the Cliff House on a previous visit. Established in 1858, the Cliff House survived two fires, but not the pandemic. The NPS and the restaurant owners failed to reach a new contract agreement and the doors closed permanently in December 2020.

After lunch, we stopped in the visitor’s center to peruse the displays. Then we walked the trail from the Sutro Baths to Land’s End. The foundation is all that remains of the Sutro Baths, a saltwater swimming complex built in 1896. The bathhouse burned down in 1966.

The trail is an easy one along the coast with great views of the Golden Gate bridge, sailboats, marine life, etc… You can almost forget you’re within city limits except for the litter and graffiti here and there. Also, beware of leaving valuables visible in your car…there are signs posted in the lot warning of frequent break-ins.

Location: 680 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121
Designation: National Recreation Area
Date designated/established: October 27, 1972
Date of my visit: August 30, 2017


19 thoughts on “Lands End: Golden Gate National Recreation Area

  1. San Francisco is one of my favourite places in the world. I had never hiked in the Golden Gate NRA Lands End ares until my son went to school in Berkeley. After we “discovered” it, we made it a point to go back here on every trip. We did notice a disturbing trend, even in cold weather. As we walked in the direction of the bridge views, there always seemed to be a naked man doing cartwheels up ahead. We walked no further.

    1. Oh my! We did not see the naked man when we were there. There were a lot of people out walking their dogs and a few selfie-takers, but nothing unusual. I guess within city limits, there will always be a character or two. 🙂

  2. Pingback: National Parks USA Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Point Bonita Lighthouse

  3. Thanks for sharing. I lived in the bay area for a year, east side, and in SF. I’ve never gone to Land’s End but interestingly, another blog I follow posted a photo of it today, too. So it is south of the bridge?

      1. I lived there in 1980. I looked up Lands End and read all the various pages. It looks like a very interesting place with a complicated past.

  4. I concur with the others about the Cliff House. This was a fabulous restaurant and the NPS needs to assess it’s negotiating strategy unless they deliberately are trying to keep it closed for reasons which escape me.

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