The hiking book: Hiking the San Francisco Bay Area
The distance:
a leisurely 3 miles
The CityGirls rating:

With one direction of the Bay Bridge closed this weekend, we stayed close to home for our hike this weekend to avoid any crazy bridge traffic.

Lucky for us, there are all sorts of great hikes right in San Francisco, including our destination for this post, Land’s End and the Sutro Baths in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. For the most part, this was really more of a stroll than a hike, as evidenced by the myriad women in heels, babies in strollers and toddlers on the run that shared the path with us.

It’s a beautiful hike, in spite of the crowds, with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the ocean and the Marin Headlands across the mouth of the bay. Though it’s in the city, the beach along Lands End is, for a small stretch, as beautifully wild and rocky as anywhere along the northern California Coast. Well, at least until you turn around and see the manicured lawns and huge houses right behind you.

One of the hidden treasures of this hike is the Land’s End labyrinth. On a cliff at the edge of the continent, this labyrinth is outlined with loose stones demarcating its well-worn footpaths. On some days, we’re sure that this is a peaceful, greatly spiritual labyrinth. There are a number of small tokens at the center indicating its importance to many who have walked it.

We walked the labyrinth to the sound of the fog horn from the Point Bonita Lighthouse, though the sense of peace was severely shattered by the four-year-old who thought the labyrinth was the best playground ever. Oh well, we knew we weren’t getting solitude on this hike.

Our hike ended with a view of the ruins of the Sutro Baths, now a bath for birds rather than people. In its heyday, the Sutro Baths were the world’s largest set of indoor swimming pools. There was a freshwater pool and six saltwater pools that could be filled by the incoming tide or through the use of pumps. Today, all that’s left are a few retaining walls and one stone structure that is severely akimbo. Oh, and the hordes of tourists swarming over the remnants.

It’s a beautiful piece of the coast, with lots of interesting history that we want to learn more about.