Lands End San Francisco
Lands End San Francisco is like my little getaway: easy to get to, easy to park, and much less crowded than other parks or beaches. It’s nice because it has a good little hiking trail, there is a mini beach called Mile Rock Beach – it is too rough and cold to swim in, but waves plashing against the rocks are like Mozart in the ocean. There is also this cool spot called the Labyrinth, during low tide at the observation area next to the Sutro Baths you can actually see three old ships that were wrecked on the rock, and they allow dogs.
There is a short paved stretch near the beginning, but most of the trail is dirt and rocks, with a couple of steep stairways along the way. The hike is pretty mild, the only strenuous part in my opinion is going back up the steps. The trail is about 1.5 miles long and at leisurely pace (allowing Priscilla to sniff around here and there) one-way took me about an hour and a half.
Please note that heavy rains can cause large chunks of the cliff to fall away; the soil is very sandy and can be unstable.
Mile Rock Beach
Another branch of the same path will take you down to the mini-beach, Mile Rock Beach, at the foot of Lands End Point. Just follow the Lands End Trail, a section of the California Coastal Trail, until you see signs for the Mile Rock Beach viewpoint then follow the signs to the stairs that lead down to the beach.
The way down is quite steep, and remember you will have to climb the stairs back up. This beach is small (I recommend going at low tide to early see the beach) but beautiful with all of the rocks and drift wood.
The Labyrinth a.k.a. Eagle Point Labyrinth
I believe there are seven labyrinths in San Francisco, this one was created by Eduardo Aguilera in 2004. Getting here is not hard if you are already hiking – just keep going east on the Coastal Trail. Take the trail toward Mile Rock Beach, walk down the steps, and where they turn a hard left, keep on the trail going straight. It is kind of crazy to image that during the early 20th century, this was part of a military base, and this point was fortified with guns that were guarding the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. Now it’s a meditation place for many with a great view.
The first site you will find parts of a ship that was named King Philip and sunk in the 1800s (I think 1887). It can be seen during low tide near Noriega street.
The second wreck happened in 1930s (I think 1936). The cargo ship SS Ohioan got too close to shore when it started to enter the channel crashed on the rocks, pieces of it can be seen at low tide from the observation area next to the Sutro Baths.
In 1922, the SS Lyman Stewart ran into another cargo ship because of the thick fog and ended up on the rocks. Then in 1937, the oil tanker SS Frank H. Buck crashed into a cruise ship in about the same location. The remains of these two wrecks are scattered along the ocean floor and parts of the wrecks can be seen from a newly-built observation deck, not far from Sutro Baths.
I recommend this hike to anyone wanting to explore hidden parts of San Francisco