San Francisco is a tiny city blessed with natural beauty. Beautiful sunrises and golden sunsets are must have experiences here, but more often than not these viewing places are extremely crowded. Witness the best San Francisco sunset in a secluded beach far away from the maddening crowd as I unveil one of the best secrets of the city. I am talking about none other than Mile Rock beach, a small rocky beach, jutting out into the Pacific and overlooking the Golden Gate bridge in one corner of the Land’s end coastal trail. Lovers of sunsets so gorgeous that only a San Francisco coast can offer with the added bonus of the Golden gate Bridge afar, the misty fog and the crashing waves of the Pacific can provide should definitely check this beach out. All you need is a good jacket (does get windy and chilly), a camera + tripod (if you are a photography nerd) and the will to climb down and up a few hundred flight of stairs to witness the best San Francisco sunset!
Getting to the beach is pretty easy and you can either drive to or take the Bus 38 to Land’s end, specifically park at or start from El Camino del Mar and Point Lobos Avenue, just up the hill from the Cliff House and the Sutra Baths, which is the trail head. Then start your journey along the coastal trail, which follows the steam railroad route established by Adolf Sutro (owner of the Sutra Bath house, the ruins of which still persist at Land’s End) to bring in people from downtown San Francisco to enjoy the bath house. Steam train later gave way to electric cars but the route was constantly plagued by landslides and finally after the torrential rains of 1925, where huge portions of the route caved into the ocean, these tracks were deemed too costly for repair and abandoned. The trail also has several curved rest areas where you can sit and enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean and listen to the fog-horns. 0.6 miles of hiking along the trail will lead you to a sign for the beach towards the left. What follows after that is several flights of sandy steps (there are quite a few of them) as you descend into the rocky, sandy cove providing a jaw dropping view of the Golden Gate bridge. The beach is best visited during sunset to see the different crimson ad pink hues of the setting sun against the backdrop of the bridge, the passing ships and waves furiously crashing against the big rocks jutting out of the water. Another attraction is a cylindrical object jutting out of water that used to be a once functioning lighthouse, named the Mile Rock beach lighthouse. Its defunct now and there is an automated light to guide the ships. If its not too foggy you might also catch the flashing lights of Point Bonita lighthouse in Marin headlands (Sausalito), one of the remaining active lighthouses in California.
Piles of stones and rocks, neatly arranged, will greet you once you are at the beach along with photography aficionados with their cameras and tripods to catch the best San Francisco sunset. Not too many people descend all the way down, so sit here, relax for a while and watch the sun go down in solitude. This beach is dog friendly and so pups are welcome. After leaving the beach, you may continue up the coastal trail that leads you the beautiful museum Legion of Honor and finally the China Basin or make your way back to the parking lot with the twinkling lights of the GG bridge glittering away in the fading evening light. You can stop by for dinner at the famous Cliff House or in one of the many restaurants in the Richmond neighborhood.
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