April 1999

Kind: Hard and soft cliffs with marginal beach strips.
Location: Off Lincoln Blvd at Langoon Court which is just south of Ralston & Merchant. Merchant leads to the visitor center by the toll plaza.
Facilities: Parking and trails only.
Fee/Open: No fee. No known curfew.
Dogs: Poor. Steep paths. Poison oak. Little in the way of open space areas or good off-leash oportunity.

Here is a place which accesses the coast at about 400' above sea level with steep cliffs plumetting down to pockets of beach and rocks far below. There is a little known (but not unknown) parking area here amidst four battery ruins dating back to 1898. The view is phenomenal, especially of the bridge and Marin Headlands. This view takes in the entire Golden Gate Channel. From this 'aerial' survey, a display plaque illustrates what the area looked like 10,000 years before when the true coast was out by the Farallone Islands. Trails run here and there, around the bunkers (which have no internal explorability), under the toll plaza to Fort Point, south to Bakers Beach, and also down to the crazy pockets of beach far below. There is only one trail down to the beaches which does not 'bluff' by ending prematurely. This single correct choice descends abruptly from the south end of the parking lot. There is more than one informative posting to be found, with interesting information about the history and the biological area. Most of all, however, it is a stunning scenic spot. The beaches down below look like exciting discoveries from way above, but when you actually get down there, they pale. Tiny sandy strips broken by cliffs and more people than anticipated. Interesting, however, is one cove grounded with thousands of rocks and boulders. Those with the builder instinct will instantly see the possibilities for rock totems, etc. The area south of here towards Baker Beach is one of the wildest natural areas in the city. Some tenuous paths penetrate into it, but the key word is 'exploration.'

On the whole, this incredibe area is insider knowledge. It is considered a highlight spot of San Francisco.

Best Features: Phenomenal view of Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. Cliff scaling trails give access all the way down to pocket beaches. Lesser known point and not crowded. Excellent for exploring, or viewing from the car.

Worst Features:  Can be windy beyond belief. Cliff trails are on the treacherous side. Bunkers have historical interest but are entirely sealed off to internal exploration. Lots of poison oak on descending trails.


View of bridge from Fort Scott Overlook