Bike: For a 10-mile round trip ride to Fort Funston, head down Point Lobos Avenue to the Great Highway and pick up Bike Route 95 on the right, which runs all the way to Fort Funston’s dunes. For a Lands End loop, a 3-mile ride that takes in some of the Coastal Trail and the Legion of Honor, turn left from the Merrie Way parking lot and go left on El Camino del Mar. After a short distance, when Clement Street is on your right, go left on the Coastal Trail. Continue until the trail comes out to El Camino del Mar, leading to the Legion of Honor. Head over the hill past the Legion of Honor and down to Clement. Turn right and follow Bike Routes 10 and 95 back to your starting point.
What’s Best: A movie director’s favorite beach, set below Seacliff mansions and adorned with dunes, rolling surf and romantic views from the Pacific side back to the Golden Gate Bridge. Wow.
Parking: From the Golden Gate Bridge, go through the far-right toll booth and make an immediate right, on Merchant Rd. Follow Merchant a short distance to Lincoln Blvd, turn right, continue about .75 ml. Veer right on Bowley St, following signs to Baker Beach. Agency: Golden Gate
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National Recreation Area
Baker Beach-Battery Chamberlain (.75 ml.); China Beach via : Seacliff (1.25 ml.)
To walk Baker Beach and Battery Chamberlain, veer to the right on Chamberlain Road as you drive in toward Baker Beach on Bowley Street note the grassy picnic area under pines to your right as you drop down. Park at the far right side of the parking lot. You’ll see Battery Chamberlain, a 95,000-pound cannon emplaced here by the Army in 1904. Park rangers provide tours of the huge gun and small museum. Drop out to the beach and stroll right, taking in views of the famous bridge and Marin Headlands across the gate. You’ll see access to the Coastal Trail, heading off to your right as you get to the beach near Battery Chamberlain. Be Aware: Rip currents and drop-offs make Baker a dangerous swimming beach.
To China Beach via Seacliff, veer left on Gibson Road as you drive in on Bowley Street from Lincoln Avenue. From the parking area, start to your left along a sandy path that skirts the beach dunes. You pass coastal flora and then go up railroad tie stairs to the wrought iron gate that marks an entrance to Baker Beach from tiny North 25th Avenue in Seacliff. From here, jog left out to Seacliff Avenue and turn right, walking almost .5-mile through the grand and picturesque estates, some of the most desirable dwellings in the world, including one owned by comedian Robin Williams. You’ll come to the end of Seacliff and a parking area that marks the short path down to the beach. China Beach, set in a rocky cove, was a Gold Rush-era Chinese fishermen encampment. Tucked away, this beach gets less tourist traffic than most. Direct Access: Continue driving south on Lincoln past Bowley Street. Turn right on 26th Avenue and go one block to Seacliff Avenue, veering left at Scenic Way. Park at the dead end.
Bike: A scenic, 6-mile Baker Beach loop takes in both beaches, the Legion of Honor, and part of the Presidio. Park at north end of Bowley Street near Lincoln Avenue, as per parking directions above. This ride requires some navigation. Head down Bowley, doing in-and-outs to Baker Beach on both Chamberlain and Gibson roads. Continue along Bowley to where it circles out to Lincoln. Veer right off Lincoln at El Camino del Mar you’ll be veering off
Bike Route 95 onto 395 and then turn right on 26th Avenue to Seacliff in order to visit China Beach. Come back out to El Camino del Mar and continue up past the golf course, turning left on Legion of Honor Drive. Pass the museum and ride down the hill to Clement Street. Turn left on Clement, now on Bike Route 10, and then left on 30th for a short distance to Lake Street. Take Bike Route 10 east on Lake, along a bike lane, and hang a left on 15th Avenue, joining Bike Route 65. Follow Bike Route 65, coming to Washington Boulevard. Ride Washington, taking in a dramatic Pacific view, until you come to Lincoln Avenue. Turn left and continue the last .75-mile to the Baker Beach entrance at Bowley Street.