Full Walking Tour Part 3 – Batteries to Bluffs (5 miles, 1:59)
The forts and degaussing station hint at the strategic importance of the Port of San Francisco. Other telling sites are the batteries (dug our fortifications) that line the mouth of the bay. The threat of Japanese invasion and airstrikes were enough to plunge San Francisco into defensive blackouts during the winter of 1941. Today, they mark some of the best vistas along the coast.
The batteries are connected by a series of trails with names like Battery Trail, California Coastal Tail, and the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. This trail sequence passes through the community of Sea Cliff before continuing on the Land’s End Trail. I called out taking the Batteries to Bluff Trail for a little variety, but you have options. The California Coastal Trail runs along the top of the bluffs allowing you to preserve your elevation. If you don’t mind the hills take side trails down the numerous secluded beaches along the way. These are legit trails with expansive ocean views and distinct photo ops for Golden Gate Bridge. I could only imagine this natural beauty during a super bloom year.
These are western facing bluffs that look out onto the open ocean which makes them the perfect vantage point for golden sunsets and fog banks marching into shore. Don’t forget the Cliff House dining with a view and the N-Line light rail as an access/exit point.
Full Walking Tour Part 4 – Golden Gate Corridor (6 miles, 2:04)
I drew this segment up roughly following the race course for Bay to Breakers with a few modifications. I kept the route along John F Kennedy Road through Golden Gate Park, but I called out walking on the sidewalks instead of running in the road. I also put a jog in that takes you down Haight Street in the Haight-Ashbury District. These are the cool, eclectic shops in a hip section of town. Purists argue that it’s too commercial for its Beatnik roots, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the experience.
I’ll be honest, I drove the next section and parked for Haight-Ashbury. For the purity of this article, I’m assuming that’s not an option. The Painted Ladies (those beautiful houses you’ve seen on the slanted road) and Alamo Square are interesting, but maybe you can talk your Uber dude into taking you on a drive by. Alternatively, if you already have your Painted Lady shot, you can catch the N-Line by talking Cole St to Carl St.
For the strong and pure of heart, you’re on foot hauling uphill. Great eateries like Souvla Restaurant reward your efforts in Hayes Valley and its namesake main drag. Once you reach the Civic Center, you’ll find public art and architecture everywhere with notable eye candy like San Francisco Public Library, Asian Art Museum, and even a Venus de Milo Statue. You’ve done it. Loop closure more or less complete. Time to take the Civic Center BART back from whence you came.