Land's End Trail is an easy, scenic hike that's worth seeking out on a sunny day in San Francisco. Given its location in the northwest part of the city, it can be combined with a visit to the Legion of Honor or to Ocean Beach. Unfortunately the iconic Cliff House was a casualty of the pandemic, and is no longer open.
Land's End Trail Location and Getting There
The Land's End Trail is located by San Francisco's Vista del Mar neighborhood and Sutro Heights. A good place to park is by the National Park Service Visitor Center by the Land's End Lookout, located at 600 Point Lobos Avenue. As with all parking in San Francisco, be sure NOT to leave valuables or really anything visible in your vehicle that could be interesting to a thief, since car break-ins are a significant issue in the city.
If taking public transit, take the 38R to the end of the line, the 48th Ave. and Point Lobos Ave. stop and walk down to the Visitor Center.
Land's End Trail Tips
There's no fee for hiking the Land's End trail or for the parking lot, so unlike Muir Woods, there's no need to plan your visit so far in advance.
The Visitor Center and cafe is open Fridays-Mondays 9am-5pm, so if you're planning on a stop there, be sure to time your visit for when it's open.
Since there are no bathroom facilities on the trail, take advantage of the facilities adjacent to the visitor Center. During our recent visit, the bathrooms were clean.
If you have kids, including young kids, this is a good trail, as the 0.8 mile out and back trail is very flat. Just be sure to keep an eye on them and keep them on the trail, as there are places just off the main path where the cliff drop off is very steep. Plus, there are some great views of Golden Gate Bridge, which makes for the perfect spot to enjoy some snacks or lunch with a view.
With energetic kids that have some stamina, it's fun to explore the Sutro Baths. We explored the Sutro Baths before walking the Land's End Trail, since there are quite a few steps to get down to it (and to climb back up), which warmed us up nicely.
The ruins of the baths, which were erected in 1894 as the largest indoor pool at the time, are all that remain after the fire that burned down the structures (by then in the process of being demolished) in 1966.
Dogs are able to use the trail but must remain leashed at all times. Don't be one of the boorish pet owners who let their dogs off the leash and/or don't clean up after their dog.
Another detour from the main path worth exploring is Mile Rock Beach. Follow the signs and take the steep steps down to the beach, which is small but dramatic in the way the waves crash across the rocks.
Overall, depending on how much time you want to spend exploring the Sutro Baths, Mile Rock Beach, and other points of interest, allow 1.5-3 hours for Land's End.
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