The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most photographed constructions around the whole world and it is truly a magnificent structure from every point of view. Heading over to Baker Beach on the Western shores of San Francisco is a trip that everyone should take once in town. The view from the beach onto the bridge is probably one of the most romantic ones there is. And getting there by foot is not as difficult as I thought it would be.
On departure day, I still had the entire afternoon left for activities. It was the 4th of July, one of the United States most celebrated and popular holidays around, and the weather was just perfect. Having spend the previous three days without a proper workout, I started the day off with a visit to the hotel near gym. With lots of time left afterwards, I came along with the idea to take a long walk over to Baker Beach, from where the view onto the Golden Gate Bridge should be just perfect on a day like this. Preparations in San Francisco for the holiday festivities in the evening were already busy and lots and lots of people were out and about taking walks, riding their bikes or picnicking in the public parks.
It is a 4,7 miles walk from Fisherman´s Wharf over to the beach along the seaside. Google maps estimated the walking time as over 1 hour and 40 minutes. I have to admit, I was power walking, but in the end it took me a little under an hour one way, and I had several photo stops in between. And it was a beautiful track along the harbor and then through the outskirts of the San Francisco Presidio. Of course, you can have it much easier by taking the bike or even public transportation. But it is a cool way to experience the beauty of nature and to enjoy the ocean vistas while being active.
The path leads first over Black Point and past Pier 2 from where you both have excellent views onto Alcatraz and the bridge. Right down at the beginning of Marina Boulevard, there is a Safeway supermarket where you can grab some water or other urban refreshments. Along Marina Boulevard you will find some of the cutest San Francisco houses lined up.
From here, you follow the San Francisco Bay Trail (along Marina Boulevard) past the yacht club, the Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Field Beach, the Crissy Field Marsh and the Crissy Field itself, which is a large green meadow at the feet of Presidio Rock.
There, you cross over to the other side and take the street up the hill. From the Crissy Field overlook you can enjoy an extravagant panorama over the San Francisco Bay with the skyline and Alcatraz in the background. Gorgeous! Follow the road a few more meters and then head towards the signage saying Battery East Trail.
This will take you the closest you may get to Golden Gate Bridge and you can either decide to add a walk on it before you continue, or you move past underneath and continue to follow the trail. It winds itself over the Presidio with constant panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco Bay. As it is windy even on sunny days, make sure to carry a sweatshirt and/or a windbreaker with you. Sun screen is also a great idea as the brisk wind can easily make you underestimate the power of the sun and the actual temperatures.
The entrance to Baker Beach is the so-called Sand Ladder which leads right onto the beach from the trail. Once you made your way down, it is up to you to find your personal perfect perspective for your snapshots. The possibilities are endless! It was a wonderful feeling to finally arrive at my destination and get the view that I had admired on so many beautifully photos before. Of course, it was an ambitious tour over here and hard work, but it payed off big time as the clouds did hang low that Independence Day, but left the bridge and the surroundings untouched. And as cloudy as it was, the light was perfect leaving all the colors with this magic intensiveness and depth. A brilliant final touch to one of the most extraordinary San Francisco layovers that I have ever had! Thank you!