Wednesday, March 12, 2014


 When a friend told me she had visited Land's End, I thought the mail order catalog company had morphed into a bricks and mortar store.  "No, not that Land's End" she informed me.  "This Land's End is a nature trail located in the northwest corner of San Francisco, where urban development ends and the Pacific Ocean begins."   

One of many beautiful views from Land's End

Last Saturday Bruce and I drove to San Francisco and spent some time hiking the three mile loop from the Cliff House to the Palace of the Legion of Honor and back.  Eager to check it out, we explored  the rugged coastline of what is called Land's End.   

Beautiful views in every direction

The Visitors Center had an excellent display detailing the early development of this historic area.   In addition to browsing the gift shop and devouring a yummy lemon scone, we bought a book entitled Stair Walks of San Francisco and decided our goal would be to hike all of the 29 city stair walks....... some day! 

"I think I can see China from here."

We started walking on the trail along with half the population of San Francisco, I swear, and every Heinz 57 and AKC breed of dog. We had been warned that Saturdays were a busy day in general, especially if the weather was sunny and there was no coastal fog.   We didn't care.  The views of the jagged coast were spectacular in every direction.   The ruins of the historic, very late 19th Century Sutro Baths fascinated us, knowing that this famous sight represented another booming era in San Francisco's colorful history.    Adolph Sutro, a wealthy city poo-bah, whose interests included natural history and marine ecology, constructed an ocean pool aquarium among the rocks just below the Cliff House, another site he also built.  His goal was to create a landmark that would attract residents and tourists to visit this special place he affectionately called Land's End.    Although we could have accessed the Baths via steep steps and a winding path,  we decided to save our knees this time around.   Besides, there is so much history surrounding the ruins themselves that exploring the Baths could be a dedicated visit all by itself.  

Cliff House and the ruins of historic Sutro Baths below

Good exercise for the buns

I brought my camera, of course and thought I might hold Bruce back from getting the exercise he hoped for, since there were so many beautiful sights and interesting people to photograph.   Wildflowers brought on by the recent rains and kids in brightly colored jackets made a simple forest picture pop to life.  Strangers  falling in love?  Now who could resist taking that photo.  And, of course, there's always another boring picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.  

A family field trip

Falling in Love

This is just one of the many beautiful views that will have us coming back

Land's End provides a corridor of dramatic spots, connecting you to secret beaches, breathtaking cliffs, coastal chaparral, redwoods and gnarly cypress trees.  While on a map,  the setting may seem accessible only for the hearty and adventurous, but that is not the case.  The trail has been developed to accommodate people of all ages and various levels of fitness.  All that's required is an interest in spending time with nature, and a willingness to get out there and do it.

Views of China Beach and Baker Beach

Can't NOT take a photo of a bike, even if it's not the kind I ride

Surfer Dude

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