The 1.4-mile Coastal Trail at Lands End is a favorite among San Franciscans for good reason. It offers spectacular views of the Golden Gate, the Marin Headlands and the waters of the Pacific. Traversing the coastal bluffs above the ocean between Point Lobos and the Sea Cliff neighborhood, the Coastal Trail provides hikers, runners, bicyclists and beachcombers easy urban access to the Golden Gate’s rugged southern edge.
Visitors typically begin their Coastal Trail excursion at the free parking lot near Lands End Lookout at the west end of Point Lobos Avenue. From the parking lot follow signs north for the Coastal Trail. Approached from this direction, the trail begins with a series of viewpoints and signs containing historical information on the ships that have run aground along this treacherous stretch of coastline in centuries past. Views of the Golden Grate Bridge are striking and continuous along this half of the trail.
After 0.7 miles you will come to a junction with the Mile Rock Beach trail, which provides access to the beach and the scenic overlook at Lands End Point (after a 150-foot descent down the stairs). Mile Rock Beach is a beautiful cove that can be explored at length during low tide. Be careful when swell is running, watch the incoming tide, and always keep an eye to the ocean here.
Continuing along the Coastal Trail from Mile Rock Beach junction takes you over a small hill through a blue gum eucalyptus grove. Drop down the hill for even better views of the bridge and of Baker Beach. The trail ends at Eagle Point Overlook, which borders the Sea Cliff neighborhood to the east. Return the 1.4 miles to the car the same way you came.
The majority of the Coastal Trail is flat and popular with runners. Bikes are allowed until shortly before the junction with the Mile Rock Beach trail. Part of a larger scenic bike route, bikes continue from this point up towards El Camino Del Mar.
Note: Try to plan your visit to Lands End Coastal Trail on a clear and sunny day. Although beautiful in it’s own right, fog will limit the views.