Can You Walk The Golden Gate Bridge To Sausalito/marin County
The answer is a resounding YES! If you are going to San Francisco you MUST set aside a few hours to walk over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge . Its a wonderful way to experience the city. You can walk or bike across the 1.5 mile art deco-inspired bridge and enjoy sweeping panoramic views to the Pacific, Marin Headlands, San Francisco Bay to the sparkling lights of the city. Its a unique way to experience San Francisco and best of all, its absolutely free!
On a recent California trip, I tagged along with my brother, a local, who is a big geek when it comes to the best places to go/park etc. I took lots of notes and photos to share with you. Check out my guide below.
This gives you a perspective of where the Golden Gate Bridge is located. Its on the north end of the city, just west of Fishermans Wharf.
Etiquette Tips For Crossing The Golden Gate Bridge
Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is consistently listed as a must-do activity for anyone visiting San Francisco. Here are a few insider tips that will make your stroll across the bridge as fun and stress-free as possible.
With a span of 1.7 miles , it takes on average 35 minutes to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Thats the perfect length of time for a morning or afternoon activity in San Francisco, and a neat way of getting your recommended daily cardio in one go.
Whether by virtue of its scale, engineering ingenuity or associated health benefits, the Golden Gate Bridge is among the citys most popular attractions: 10,000,000 people visit it every year. Every day, thousands cram onto the bridge, meaning crowds are a fact of life at all hours though theyre especially bad at sunset on a clear day.
These tips cant dispel the crowds at the worlds most famous bridge though certain times are better to visit than others but they will ensure a safe, fulfilling trip.
Final Tips For Crossing The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge can be noisy. My first time crossing the bridge, I kind of forgot that it is the very active Highway 101! The drone of constant car traffic can take away from some of the enjoyment. There are also occasionally very loud foghorns.
I still recommend walking the bridge, but other city guides dont mention this fact. Have your expectations in check, and keep this in mind if you are traveling with anyone who is hypersensory.
Bring a picnic or snacks. There are very limited places to eat at the Golden Gate Bridge since the Bridge Cafe closed around 3-4 years back.
Right now there is only the Round House Café and the food is pretty mediocre. There is a gift shop at the visitor center but it doesnt have food, just bottled water.
Instead, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it with a view! There are picnic areas just below the Battery East parking lot if you want to bring something to eat with a view of the Golden Gate! There are also more tables around Crissy Field.
Choose your visit wisely! I suggest not planning everything in stone on a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge. It is very frequently fogged out and you will not be able to see anything. Not exactly the way you want to experience this bucket list item!
Locals do not chase the fog but rather time their walks on sunny days when you can actually see all the beauty of the San Francisco Bay!
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Which Bridge Sidewalk Do We Walk On
All pedestrians who walk across the Golden Gate Bridge use the east sidewalk, which faces San Francisco and the Bay. On weekdays bikes will also use this route before 3:30 PM.
The west side of the Golden Gate Bridge faces the ocean. On weekdays before 3:30 PM the west sidewalk is usually reserved for maintenance crews, and after 3:30 and on weekends it is reserved for bike riders.
You can still go to the view areas on either side of the Bridge on the northern and southern ends of the structure. Two passageways beneath the bridge deck near the parking lots, a broad tunnel at the south end and a narrow passage at the north end, give walkers and bike riders the chance to cross between the two sidewalks.
This gives visitors access to great spots for dramatic photos on both the eastern and western sides of both ends of the Bridge.
Outstanding Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoints: See It From Every Angle
10/01/2020 by Carol Guttery
Get the scoop on finding the best Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints. This locals guide to Golden Gate Bridge views will tell you where to go, how to get there and the best time of day for seeing the bridge.
One of my Instagram buddies who is not from the US recently asked me about the Golden Gate Bridge and why its such a thing. All coastal cities have bridges so why is San Franciscos bridge so iconic? I think that there are several reasons why the bridge has become synonymous with San Francisco.
First is that the bridge is perched at the tip of the bay, acting as a gateway to the Pacific Ocean and connecting San Francisco with the rest of northern California. Second is that the reddish-orange color and graceful design of the bridge stand in striking visual contrast to the green open spaces and national park land located on either side of it. The third reason is simply that the bridge is so visible from everywhere in San Francisco. It looms across the bay and muscles itself into view from all angles around the city.
Its for that third reason that I believe so many people flock to see the bridge and why its a thing. Both visitors and residents of SF want to experience the Golden Gate bridge park and see for themselves how it guards the city.
So this guide to the best Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints is intended to help you find those iconic bridge experiences.
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Experiencing The Golden Gate Bridge
Walk onto the Golden Gate Bridge if you can. You can’t really appreciate the size and height unless you’ve walked on it, at least a little way. At mid-span, you stand 220 feet above the water’s surface and passing ships below look like small toys. The distance from one vista point to another is 1.7 miles, a fun round trip if you’re up to it, but even a short walk will be interesting.
Pedestrians are allowed only on the east sidewalk, during daylight hours. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash at all times, but roller blades, skates, and skateboards are not.
Guided Tours: Many San Francisco tour operators include the Golden Gate Bridge in their tour itineraries, but most allow only a few minutes to get out at the south vista point. City Guides offers regular, free walking tours. Stroll with them and learn who named the bridge, how the structure cheated the law of concrete and steel, and what members of the Halfway to Hell Club did to join their organization.
Even if you don’t take that guided tour, you may want to learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge’s history and find out some of the most fascinating facts about it.
Rent Bikes To Cross The Golden Gate Bridge
There is no shortage of bike rental places in the city, especially around Fisherman’s Wharf where the self-guided tours often start. You’ll see the bike kiosks and offices all over the wharf. But which one to choose?
I looked into this for my own ride across the bridge, so I’ll share what I discovered. There are some really good deals on renting the bikes -)
San Francisco Bike Rental Companies
There are lots of bike rental companies in San Francisco, and at least 9 of them provide bikes to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and ride down into Sausalito.
It’s pretty overwhelming comparing all the prices and reviews, but I spent some time on it and came up with what I think are the four best options for renting bikes.
Bike rental tips in a nutshell:
#1: Basically Free Bike Rentals.
Unfortunately, this shop is closed due to Covid.
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Biking Across The Bridge
There are two sidewalks on the Golden Gate Bridge used by cyclists: the East Sidewalk, facing the bay, and the West Sidewalk, facing the ocean. The bridge has a schedule for which sidewalk is open to bicycles.
Daylight to 3:30 pm, east sidewalk.
3:30 pm to dark, west sidewalk.
Weekends and holidays:
Daylight to dark , west sidewalk.
The bridge is open to cyclists 24 hours a day, but after dark, the gates are locked and riders have to push a button to get buzzed in.
Pedestrians must use the east sidewalk, and share it with bikes on weekdays.
Tips for biking crossing the bridge.
- Dress warmly in layers, even if the day is warm. It’s cold and windy up there!
- Weekends and holidays it can get crowded go early.
- Pick your time for the view you want: bay or ocean. The bay view includes the city skyline, Alcatraz, & Angel Island. The ocean view includes the Marin Headlands and the entrance to the bay.
- If you use the West Sidewalk, you won’t have to wrestle your bike down and up the steep stairs to take it under the bridge to the bike path.
Should You Rent An Electric Bike
Most of the companies offer a variety of bikes to rent, including electric bikes. Do you need an electric bike to get up the hills on the ride to the bridge and Sausalito?
The short answer is…maybe. Depends on your fitness level and how you feel about pushing bikes up hills -) The route is pretty much flat all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge from Fisherman’s Wharf…with three exceptions.
There’s a pretty steep hill just as you leave Fisherman’s Wharf and enter Fort Mason, but it’s not terribly long. You may have to get off and push it at least part way there, but most people don’t have a problem with that. And there’s a long, steep hill right after the Warming Hut at Crissy Field most people will have to push part of the way . Finally, there’s a long hill climbing up to the Battery East trail.
The bridge itself is actually a slight hill, but they don’t allow you to use the electric mode on the bridge. That’s not a problem, since the incline to the center of the bridge is mild.
Once you’re across the bridge, it’s downhill all the way to Fort Baker. But the worst hill of all is between Fort Baker and Sausalito. This is a serious hill see photos below under the Ride to Sausalito. At that point, I really wished I had chosen the electric bike! But you can also avoid it by taking the “old” bike route into town .
Note: electric bikes aren’t allowed on the Golden Gate Ferry from Sausalito to the Ferry Building, but they are OK on the Blue and Gold Ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf.
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How Long Is The Ride
The bike ride from Fisherman’s Wharf, across the bridge and down to Sausalito is 8.5 miles. It’s hard to estimate the time, because it depends on how often you stop and how well you can pedal up the hills!
When we did the ride, it took us 2.5 hours to get to Sausalito from Fisherman’s Wharf. We took our time, taking photos, admiring the views, resting, and pushing our bikes up the hills -)
- Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge: 4 miles.
- Riding across the bridge: 1.7 miles.
- From the bridge to Sausalito: 2.8 miles.
The ferry ride back to the city takes around 30 minutes.
Here’s How The Golden Gate Bridge Was Actually Built
Tony Bennett keeps telling us how he left his heart there. He isn’t the only one. Human beings have been occupying the area of San Francisco for about 5,000 years, according to History. The California city boasts one of the Pacific Ocean’s largest natural harbors. Europeans entered the scene in 1769 and found it very good. The town was originally called Yerba Buena. The Spanish Misión San Francisco de Asís was thriving by 1808. The United States Navy raised the Stars and Stripes in 1846, and the next year the settlement was renamed San Francisco. The great 1906 earthquake nearly 8.0 on the Richter scale nearly destroyed the city, but it rebounded and rebuilt.
And while natural harbors are great good things, they do pose transportation challenges. How to get from one side of the bay to the other? By road, very much the long way ’round? Take a boat across? That has potential, unless you’re trying to deliver goods on some sort of regular basis. Thus, in the thirties, one of San Francisco’s signature landmarks was born: the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Fort Baker And Moore Road
Its surprising how few tourists make it to this spot for a photo opportunity. For a great close and low angle shot from the north, head towards Fort Baker on the 101 across the bridge. Get off on Alexander Ave. Make your first right onto Bunker Road, follow that down to Murray Circle and turn right onto Moore Road. From here drive all the way up until cars are restricted and park. Enjoy an awesome and unique photo spot!
Explore More Of The Presidio
You could spend a whole day visiting the cool attractions in the Presidio. In addition to 24 miles of hiking trails, you can also visit the Disney Family Museum, do a selfie at the Goldsworthy Lines near Lovers Lane or visit the Yoda statue at the Lucas Arts office . The latter two are part of our locals only guide to unusual things to do in SF. Its worth a look if you like offbeat adventures like sound sculptures, secret steps, street art, street food and sneaky pirates.
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Stay At Inn San Francisco
Enjoy these views of the Golden Gate Bridge and be sure to take in the views of the city from the roof deck at the Inn San Francisco. Located in the Mission District, the Inn San Francisco is a charming Victorian bed and breakfast that offers enjoyable amenities and one-of-a-kind accommodations in the heart of the city.
Bring your camera and see what wonderful views await you with your stay at Inn San Francisco.
How To Get To The Golden Gate Bridge By Bus
Golden Gate Transit buses connect Sausalito and points north with San Francisco, allowing you to get to the Golden Gate Bridge in each direction. Routes that stop at the Bridge in either direction in San Francisco are numbers 2, 4, 8, 10, 24, 26, 27, 30, 38, 44, 54, 56, 58, 60, 70, 72, 73, 74 and 76. The Golden Gate Transit website has further information on these comfortable commuter buses, and you can also call 511 for transit assistance.
The San Francisco Muni Bus system routes 28 and 29 allow you to get to the Golden Gate Bridge, and serve the southern end of the Bridge.
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Finding The Bike Path
The bike trail to Sausalito starts at North Tower parking lot, on the western side of the bridge.
Crossing the Bridge on the East Sidewalk: you’ll arrive at the Vista Point parking lot. From there, you’ll need to cross under the bridge via an underpass to get to the North Tower Parking lot .
Take a sharp right as you enter the parking area at Vista Point, and you’ll see the steep stairway going down to the underpass.
The Underpass. This maneuver with a bike requires some agility and strength. There’s a long stairway down and another long one back up again. Next to the steps there is a narrow metal ramp to wheel your bike.
The tunnel goes right under the bridge, which is pretty cool . You’ll come out at the North Tower parking lot.
At the North Tower parking lot, there’s a sign painted on the pavement showing you the way to the Sausalito bike path. At the edge of the lot, you’ll see the beginning of a bike trail and the sign for Sausalito.
Crossing the Bridge on the West Sidewalk: you will already be at the North Tower parking lot. Find the signpost for the bike route to Sausalito, and enjoy!
Golden Gate Bridge Facts: Size
The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest span in the world from its completion in 1937 until the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was built in New York in 1964. Today, it still has the ninth-longest suspension span in the world. A few Golden Gate Bridge facts to illustrate its size:
- Total length: Including approaches, 1.7 miles
- Middle span: 4,200 feet .
- Width: 90 feet
- Clearance above the high water : 220 feet
- Total weight when built: 894,500 tons
- Total weight today: 887,000 tons . Weight reduced because of new decking material
- 746 feet above the water
- 500 feet above the roadway
- Each leg is 33 x 54 feet
- Towers weigh 44,000 tons each
- There are about 600,000 rivets in EACH tower.
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