Saturday, July 13, 2024

Where To Park To Walk The Golden Gate Bridge

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Golden Gate Bridge Parking North Side: More Options

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, CA

1. Vista Point

Cost: Free

If you want to visit the northern end, you will find a Golden Gate Bridge parking lot at Vista Point. You will find this by driving over the bridge and watch for the signs. There is just one way into this lot. This one is a little bigger but is really busy.

Be careful as you drive through this lot looking for a spot because people are excited to see the bridge and aren’t paying attention as much as they should. This one has about 120 spots with about 10 handicap only spaces.

When Vista Point gets too full, they will shut it down to new cars entering on busier days. You will see a sign that says, “Buses Only.”

If this one is full, you can find a second lot on the northern side of the bridge just across Highway 101.

This lot often closes for all cars on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend.

2. Moore Road Pier

Cost: Free

This is a small little Golden Gate Bridge parking area with about 9 spots and a couple more along the road. The thing I love about this spot is that you can walk out along the Moore Road Pier for some fantastic views of the bridge.

The downside is its size. You won’t often find a spot here during the busier times, but it’s free and worth a shot. You can always check this one out first as it isn’t too far away from #6 on my list above. It’s a closer walk to get to the bridge though so might be worth an extra few minutes to see if a spot is open.

3. Point Cavallo/Marina Road

Cost: Free

How To Get There By Bus Or Public Transportation

If you want to rely on public transportation, you need to get off at the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza stop, which can be easily reached from many areas of San Francisco including Union Square and Fishermans Wharf. You can find directions for the many lines that run on this route on the official website.

East Beach To Fort Point And The Golden Gate Bridge

The East Beach to Fort Point hike checks off so many boxes it would be nearly impossible to design a more beautiful urban hike in San Francisco. Nose-to-tail views of the Golden Gate Bridge? Check. A historic, Civil War era fort? Check. Beach access? Check. A short walk to the Palace of Fine Arts? Check. In short, the Golden Gate Bridge views, bay views, kite surfers, beaches, Warming Hut, and the chance to go inside Fort Point, a national historic site, make this an insanely fun, stimulating, and refreshing hike.

East Beach to Fort Point provides many excellent vantage points for seeing the Golden Gate Bridge.

So lets go! Begin your hike at the far eastern side of the parking lot, heading south on Yacht Road towards the Palace of Fine Arts. Follow the patchwork of crosswalks across Marina Boulevard and pick up the paved pedestrian path.

A patchwork of crosswalks leads across Marina Blvd to the Palace.

Architect Bernard Maybeck designed the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition . Interpretive signs line the loop to give you background and history of the Palace. Maybeck, a fan of incorporating landscaping and nature into his designs, used an existing freshwater lake to create a reflecting pool in front of the grand rotunda and colonnade.

The rotunda and colonnade rise above the reflecting pool. The loop leads underneath the rotunda.

Kite surfers park at the East Beach parking lot and can be seen along the shore.


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Getting To The Marin Side By Bus

Two public bus lines leave from SF, cross the bridge, and stop near the Vista Point at the northern end of the bridge , and the Hop On Hop Off buses take you directly from SF to the Vista Point parking lot.

  • Golden Gate Transit bus #30: runs daily about every hour. You can catch it on the SF side at the toll plaza and get off at the Alexander Road exit stop, then it’s a 7 minute walk back to Vista Point. This bus goes all the way to Sausalito. You can also catch it all along Mission Street downtown, plus many other stops in the city. Coming back to SF it’s not as convenient the southbound bus stop is about a 12 min. walk down Alexander Ave towards Sausalito from Vista Point. See #30 route.
  • Hop On Hop Off buses: run daily, usually every 30 or 60 minutes, depending on the season. The Sausalito loop starts at the Welcome Center parking lot in SF and stops at the Vista Point lot, before going on to Sausalito. The Sausalito loop is now included in the 1, 2 and 3-day City Sightseeing bus passes. See Hop On Hop Off for more info and booking.
  • weekends only, runs hourly. You can catch this at the toll plaza in SF . This bus also stops at the Battery Spencer viewpoint in the Headlands and goes all the way out to the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Get off at the Alexander Ave/Conzelman Road stop for Vista Point.
  • Taking A Golden Gate Bridge Tour

    Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

    You can also explore more of the bridge by taking a tour. You can go on the bridge on a bike tour which takes you into Sausalito and then back to SF on the ferry. You can go under the bridge with a sunset cruise . Or you can soar high above the bridge in a private helicopter tour.

    However you do it, be sure to enjoy your bridge walk and make sure your phone has a lot of battery juice, because you are going to want to take a lot of pictures. Have fun and happy trails!

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    Coastal Trail Golden Gate Bridge Parking Lot

    Just up the hill from the employee parking lot next to the Toll Plaza is another lot, which just re-opened in 2016 after being remodeled and re-paved. Stepping just a few paces down a path from this lot also reveals a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge looking directly north along its roadway.

    Access from Highway 101 North: Yes, via tunnel under Bridge.

    Access from Highway 101 South: Yes

    Access via City Streets: Yes, via Lincoln Blvd. or Mason St. from San Francisco.

    From Baker Beach On The Batteries To Bluffs Trail

    This option is nice if you are interested in creeping around some of SFs old military bunkers. And by starting at Baker Beach, you can check out one of the nicest beaches in San Francisco. Its got a wide sand beach and great views of the bridge in the distance. From the beach, walk up to the bluffs and take the Batteries to Bluffs Trail east toward the bridge. Cross under the bridge to the Welcome Center and then continue walking on the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Distance to the south end Welcome Center: 1 mileDistance to the north end Vista Point: 2.7 miles

    There is some parking at Baker beach, but public transportation would probably be more convenient. From downtown, take the 38BX or the 1 to 25th St. Transfer to the 29 and get off at Bowley.

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    E Fort Baker Pier Ggnra Parking Area

    There are a few spaces near the pier that are a city block or two closer to the Bridge than the large Fort Baker lots. The Pier itself offers spectacular views, but you still have climb the steep road up the hill to reach Vista Point on the eastern side of the Bridge and the Conzelman Road Parking Lot on the western side.

    Access from Highway 101 North: Yes, via Alexander Ave. and Bunker Road.

    Access from Highway 101 South: Yes, via Alexander Ave. and Bunker Road.

    Access via City Streets: Yes, via Alexander Ave and East Road.

    Stop : Earthquake Testing And Retrofitting

    Walking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA!

    As many people know, San Francisco has suffered through many major earthquakes in its history.

    The largest of these was the 1906 earthquake, which was estimated to be a 7.8 on the Richter scale

    Since 1906, the city has experienced numerous other strong earthquakes.

    Because of the danger that earthquakes pose, we have to know to a high degree of certainty that the Golden Gate Bridge will survive a strong earthquake.

    As part of the design process during the creation of the bridge, scientists put models of the bridge under severe stress to figure out which parts of the bridge would cause trouble.

    As you can see from this large beam that is bent in the middle, the researchers discovered one possible fault in the bridge.

    They fixed it before the bridge was ever built, but they kept this bent beam for visitors to see.

    Walk back under the bridge, and walk up the hill towards the right. At the top of the hill, youll see a set of stairs with a large flagpole at the top. Walk up to the area with the flag.

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    Langdon Court Overlook Of Golden Gate Bridge Parking Lot

    This lot is a mix of asphalt, gravel and dirt/sand. It was intended to serve the Overlook, but during construction it is a de facto Bridge overflow lot.

    Access from Highway 101 North: Yes, via tunnel under Bridge.

    Access from Highway 101 South: Yes

    Access via City Streets: Yes, via Lincoln Blvd. from San Francisco. Drive up the hill from the Fort Winfield Scott parking lot and Langdon Court will be on your right.

    Access from Highway 101 North: Yes

    Access from Highway 101 South: Yes, via tunnel under Bridge.

    Access via City Streets: Yes, via Lincoln Blvd. or Mason St. from San Francisco.

    Its also the location of a famous scene from the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo. The walk up the hill to the Bridge is somewhat steep, though short.

    Where To Park Nearchinatown

    Chinatown is a cultural landmark and neighborhood in San Francisco. Venture into this area for world-class, authentic Chinese food and culture. Because Chinatown is a neighborhood, youll be able to find a good amount of street parking near your destination.

    If youre lucky, you might be able to snag a free 2 hour spot at Waverly Place, but only if youre one of those people who happens to always be in the right place at the right time. Most of the other the streets are metered and limited for 2 hours, you can find ample parking along Clay Street and for a few dollars more on Stockton Street . For visits longer than 2 hours, your best option is the city garage located at the intersection of Kearny and Clay streets unless youre one of those lucky ones there are a handful of metered spots with a 4 hour limit on Washington and Stockton streets .

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    Trails With The Best Views Of The Golden Gate Bridge

    Top Bay Area hikes to gaze at the famous San Francisco Bridge

    The soaring and spectacular Golden Gate Bridge is the centerpiece to the Golden Gate National Parks and anchors miles of parklands from San Francisco to Marin, all waiting for you to explore. From ADA-accessible, family-friendly trails to steep, sweat-inducing treks, these are the pathways that’ll give you Instagram-worthy, jaw-dropping views of the iconic span that you’ll just have to see to believe.

    These trails can’t exist without community support from people like you! You can help preserve them for generations to come by becoming a Parks Conservancy member or volunteer today.

    Inspired to plan an adventure to gaze at the bridge? Scope out the real-time weather conditions by taking a look at our Golden Gate Bridge Live Webcams.

    Three Suggested Walks On The Golden Gate Bridge

    Walking the Golden Gate Bridge ⢠Travel with Curiosity

    Insiders Tip: Always dress in layers so you can get warm or cool off when the Golden Gate Bridge weather changes and those changes are common.

    Insiders Tip: During the warm months from April to October the closest parking lots to the Golden Gate Bridge get very crowded and there can be long delays in finding parking. If you take Muni, Golden Gate Transit, Uber, Lyft or a taxi there and back you can save a lot of time that you can then spend appreciating the beautiful views. Hop-on hop-off tour buses allow you to set your own pace, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge as far as you want and to stay here as long as you like during daylight hours.

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    Where Do You Park To Walk Across The Golden Gate Bridge

    Park your car in the metered parking lot on the south side of the bridge. Dont miss the last exit or you will find yourself in Marin. If the main lot is full, follow Lincoln Boulevard a little way to the spillover parking lot. At the south end of the bridge you will find a parking lot, visitor center and a gift shop.

    Getting To The Bridge

    The Golden Gate Bridge is very easy to get to. Driving is easy because there are number of parking lots close by, and city buses make frequent stops at the Welcome Center, near the southern end of the bridge.

    Plus, the Hop On Hop Off buses stop near the Welcome Center, and there are good bike paths to the bridge from Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can rent bikes.

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    Getting To The Bridge By Bus

    It’s easy to get to the Golden Gate Bridge by bus from many points in San Francisco here are some options:

    From Fishermans’s Wharf.The #28 – 19th Avenue – Muni Bus stops right next to the Welcome Center, at the SF end of the bridge. You can catch it on Van Ness Avenue, between North Point and Bay, at the western end of the Fisherman’s Wharf area, a couple of blocks west of Aquatic Park. You can also catch it in Golden Gate Park. See #28 route.

    From Downtown SF. The #30 Golden Gate Transit bus runs daily, about every hour, from many downtown stops, including stops all along Mission Street. It also runs through the city with numerous other stops on its way to the bridge. Get off at the Toll Plaza just before the bridge . See the #30 route.

    From Union Square. The #76X Marin Headlands Express bus also stops at the Toll Plaza. Catch it at Post and Powell streets, at Union Square Note: weekends only. See #76X route. You can also walk down Powell Street, past Market, to Mission Street and catch the #30 there.

    Four Cool Routes For The Bridge Walk

    Golden Gate Bridge Park Walking Tour – View Point of San Francisco Bay and Downtown San Fran

    When most people think of walking the Golden Gate Bridge, they are just thinking of the pedestrian walkway on the bridge itself. But if you are up for doing some additional mileage, you can take a hike to the bridge from one of several connecting pathways. These extended routes gives you more opportunity to see the bay, the Pacific and the bridge itself from different angles.

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    North Side Golden Gate Bridge Parking

    The map image below shows you three ways to park on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is also a scenic drive that goes west along Conzelman road. There are pullouts and free parking spots along that road and they do provide nice views of the bridge, but they dont offer good access to the bridge.

    How Long Is The Golden Gate Bridge

    Its 1.7 miles one way from the Welcome Center on the south end to the vista point lookout on the north end. If you just go to the end of the bridge, but not all the way to the north side vista point, then its 1.3 miles one way. Check out this article on Golden Gate Bridge facts to learn more tidbits like how and when it was built and why Hollywood movies love blowing it up.

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    Log Cabin Parking Lot

    The Log Cabin is down Storey Road from the Fort Winfield Scott Parking Lot. Its somewhat less convenient than the south end lots listed above, but on a crazy busy day, you have to take whatever you can get. This lot has ~42 parking spots.

    How to get to the Log Cabin parking lot: Keep going down Storey Road past the Scott field for a few blocks. The Log Cabin will be on the left.

    How much does it cost: $1.90/hour or $9.50 all day.

    Where To Park Your Car

    Vietnam Veterans Annual Golden Gate Bridge Walk

    Whether you are parking on the North our South end of the bridge, there are multiple parking lots available for use. However, it can be very limited during the peak traveling seasons, in which case I recommend either getting there really early or taking other means of transportation such as Golden Gate Transit.

    Southeast Side Parking Lot

    The visitor center has a small 37 space metered parking lot with a rate of $.25 per 15 minutes. Needless to say, this one fills up quickly due to its close access to the bridge as well as the visitor centers café, gift shop, and gardens. On the weekends, a satellite parking lot is opened on the southwest side for a flat rate of $5.

    To access this lot if you are traveling south from Marin, take the first exit right past the toll booth and go under the underpass and this will take you to the lot. If you are traveling north from San Francisco take the exit right before the bridge that says Golden Gate National Recreation Area View Area.

    If youre willing to make a bit of a trek, there are multiple other lots in the vicinity that offer free parking with no time limit. The closest of these is the Battery East Vista, located just below the visitor center. Two other options are to park at either Chrissy Field or Fort Point and take a quick 15-minute walk uphill to the visitor center.

    Northeast Side Parking Lot

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