San Francisco – Everyday Insider (TM) Trip 21c

Today, I’ll share the wild spaces at the northwest corner of San Francisco, and the Coastal Trail at Land’s End. This is called the Outer Richmond district or Park-Presidio.

Lying directly north of Golden Gate Park, “the Richmond” is bounded by Fulton Street on the south; Arguello Boulevard and Laurel Heights to the east; Presidio National Park and Lincoln Park to the north and Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Park Presidio Boulevard divides the Richmond into the western “Outer Richmond” and the eastern portion, called the “Inner Richmond.” Geary Boulevard is a major east-west thoroughfare which runs through the Richmond and is the way to go downtown.

The district was given its name by Australian immigrant and Japanese fine art dealer George Turner Marsh who was one of the neighborhood’s earliest residents. He named it after his home “the Richmond House” which in-turn was named for Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. I am familiar with that, too, as I grew up in early childhood in Melbourne, and this is a much more pleasing area.

But, back then, there was a lot of dune in the SF city, and as there is another city named Richmond, in the East Bay, SF businesses wanted it distinguished, so “Park-Presidio” came into use.

San Franciscans will know both terms.

The neighborhood encompasses what was Jewish, Irish-American, Chinese and Russian enclaves. As you drive along Geary street, you will see the domes of Russian Orthodox churches and Jewish synagogues, if you know when to look. And, at China Beach, apart from its spectacular views, you will learn about the Chinese settlement there, for first immigrants. Today, the largest neighborhood population is Chinese.

At the eastern border of Lincoln Park is the accessible portion of the Land’s End Trail, beginning or ending at Eagle Point. I do not recommend going the section near Sutro Baths, further west, unless you are an experienced hiker. China Beach is east of Eagle Point.

If you do the 3 mile round trip from Point Lobos to Eagles’ Point, you can meander past the Sutro Baths, the Legion of Honor museum, and along cliffs with beautiful views of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Turn right on 48th (in Lincoln Park, this becomes El Camino del Mar) and park in the lot adjacent to the USS San Francisco Memorial and Fort Miley. This lot and its trail entrance are designated “Accessible.” Here and there, you’ll find a bench, too.

You have two options from this parking lot:

1. Descend the stairs next to the USS San Francisco memorial (the northwest side of the lot) to connect with the Coastal Trail below.  About a half mile into the hike, you’ll see a trail up to the Legion of Honor museum.You can choose to ascend here to visit the Legion of Honor, or continue on the Coastal Trail.

You can also begin on El Camino del Mar, the road where the museum is, and descend stairs near the Legion of Honor which will take you down to the Coastal Trail.


2. Use the Accessible trail head at the northeast side of the USS San Francisco lot to walk along the El Camino del Mar Trail which parallels the Coastal Trail.

Coastal Trail to Eagles’ Point

Continue on the main Coastal Trail to Painted Rock. At this point, you’ll see a warning sign to keep out of the area off the main trail (due to cliff dangers). Follow the marked hikers’ trail and stairs up the hill.

Along the way, you’ll navigate some landscaped stairways and a few hills. The ocean views along the Coastal Trail, all the way from the trail head to Eagles’ Point, are stunning and picture-worthy.

At the end you’ll be at Eagles’ Point where you can exit this section of the Coastal Trail (on 32nd in the Richmond). This is natural turn around point. You can walk back along El Camino del Mar which is the road at the front of Legion of Honor museum, where you you can pick up the El Camino del Mar Trail.

If You Return on El Camino Del Mar . . .

. . . You’ll turn right as you exit the Coastal Trail on 32nd. The golf course will be on both sides of the road as you walk up the hill on a dirt walking shoulder, toward the Legion of Honor.

From the Legion of Honor, you can continue back on the El Camino del Mar Trail (at the far west end of the parking area below the Legion) — or you can take a spur trail down to the Coastal Trail, and back to the starting point parking area.

Obviously, you need a map to do any of this. You’ll see some online. Golden Gate National Park Conservancy

For public transport, check the SF Archive link below.

The Legion of Honor museum has an excellent outdoor cafe, so plan to use it unless you bring snacks or a picnic.


Bring water with you on the trail. It’s usually cold or at least very breezy, so it would be wise to bring a jacket or sweatshirt. But, you’ll have the real ocean mist and spray to always remember! On warmer days, this area is well-traveled. I do not suggest that you walk this trail alone; coyotes are possible in some areas.

San Francisco Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

Leave a Reply