Golden Gate Promenade - Bay Trail

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Overview

Trail Features

Dogs
Allowed
Fees
None
Kids
Allowed
Route
Out and Back
Users
Multi-use
Length
4.3 miles
Parking
Yes
Surface
Mixed
Bathrooms
Yes
Elevation
20 ft. gain
Difficulty
Beginner
Trail hours
All Hours
Parking hours
All Hours
Water fountains
Yes
Vending machines
Yes

The Golden Gate Promenade, also known as the Crissy Field Promenade, is one of the most iconic urban trails in the country, and certainly a must-do when visiting San Francisco. This is and easy, 4.3-mile, out-and-back trail. The spectacular views along the shoreline feature the Marin Headlands, the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz Island, and of course, the bridge itself. Golden Gate Bridge is an engineering marvel which spans a mile between San Francisco and Marin County. The American Society of Civil Engineers has declared this suspension bridge as one of the Wonders of the Modern World, and it is certainly the most recognized and photographed symbol of San Francisco. This trail experiences moderate to heavy foot traffic and is open year-round.

Your hike on the Promenade can be as short or as long as you like and there are many activities along the way. People regularly use this trail for dog-walking, cycling, jogging, rollerblading, fishing, windsurfing, and picnics.

At Crissy Field, where the trail begins, there is access to a sand beach on one side and a tidal marsh on the other. The beach is dog-friendly. Crissy Marsh, which has recently been converted to a wetland by the National Park Service, hosts over 120 species of birds and is a popular destination for birdwatching.

The trail is kid-friendly, dog-friendly, and wheelchair accessible. It is used all year long, although wind is sometimes a factor. Bring a lunch and have a picnic at one of several ideal places along the trail. Food and restrooms are available at the Beach Hut Café and the Warming Hut.

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Description

Parking is free on weekdays at the Crissy Field Parking lot, with a three-hour limit between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. On weekends, parking is available from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with fees of $1.20 per hour or $7 per day. Other free parking can be found within this area, particularly at the lot adjacent to Gas House Cove.

Starting out at Gas House Cove, at the east end of the Marina Green, two paved trails set out - one along the waterfront and another paralleling Marina Boulevard. Traveling along the waterfront trail, you'll see the entrance to Crissy Field with its sand beach on the right and tidal marsh on the left. The beach is considered one of the best dog beaches in the Bay; dogs do not have to be leashed while on it.

From Crissy Field, continue along the path to the NOAA Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary which has a small park, and not much farther you'll reach the Warming Hut Café and Park Store, where food, drink, and restrooms are available.

Continuing through the Presidio to Fort Point, you'll find an ideal shoreline fishing spot, also known for its 10,000-pound replicas of the cannons that were stationed here 150 years ago. A hidden picnic site can be found a quarter mile uphill from this site on a trail that leads into a grove of cypress trees. From Fort Point, return the way you came or loop back on the inland trail.

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History

The Golden Gate Bridge, completed in 1937, was designed by Joseph Strauss along with a team of other engineers including Leon Moisseiff, Irving Morrow, and Charles Anton Ellis. Construction began in 1933, and the project cost over $35 million. Until 1964, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It is now surpassed by the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York, leaving the Golden Gate Bridge as the second-longest bridge in the U.S.

The Golden Gate Bridge Promenade, also known as the Crissy Field Promenade, is a part of the Presidio National Park. Presidio National Park is one of few national parks with no fee because it is financially self-sufficient. The name Presidio, meaning a fortified base established by the Spanish, comes from the military installation that was established here when the Spanish built a garrison on the site in 1776.

The Warming Hut is housed in a former U.S. Army storehouse, built in 1909, and today features a café serving sandwiches, snacks, souvenirs, and hot and cold drinks. A World's Fair named the Panama-Pacific International Exposition was held at the location of Crissy Field in 1915, and the Palace of Fine Arts, a faux Roman ruin, was built for this event and is a popular photo op today. During World Wars I and II, this site became an airfield and was given its current name.

The Presidio Trust was established by the U.S. Congress in 1996 to oversee and manage 80% of the park's interior lands. The National Park Service managed 20% until the park was deemed self-sufficient in 2013.

Sources

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