San Francisco, CA: Mile Rock Beach - Backpacker

San Francisco, CA: Mile Rock Beach

This easy 1.8-miler links San Fran’s west-side streets to some of its most rugged headlands and off-the-beaten-track views of the Golden Gate and Marin County.
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From the Outer Richmond Neighborhood on San Francisco’s west side, this 1.8-mile out-and-back cruises a short stretch of the California Coastal Trail from the northern Land’s End Trailhead. Stop at the Eagle’s Point observation platform for a preview of the vistas ahead and enjoy the cypress-shaded cruise above some of San Fran’s wildest coastline. Though the gravel- and dirt-surfaced path starts level, be prepared for a 100-foot stair-step climb (and the equally stair-stepped descent of the same hill’s west side) beginning at mile 0.4.
Bypass a left-leading spur trail and continue west to a 3-way junction with the Mile Rock Beach Trail at mile 0.75. Turn right (away from the main trail) before a quick left, following signs to another stair-stepped descent that ends at Mile Rock Beach. The beach itself is small and rocky, but if conditions are mild, it’s a great spot for a little exploring or a picnic. Heading back uphill, look left for a smaller trail that branches toward the vista at Land’s End—where the hike’s most spectacular views await. The headlands are rugged, rocky, and steep, so use caution on unmarked trails and consider skipping them altogether if you’ve got small children or dogs in tow.
-Mapped by Dave Miller

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 2.9



Location: 37.786415, -122.493988

This route's eastern approach toward Land's End begins at a small, signed trailhead on El Camino Del Mar. Look for street-side parking and pick up the trail just west of 32nd Avenue. You'll follows the San Francisco Bay inlet's southern coastline and views of the Golden Gate bridge are a highlight on clear days.


Location: 37.786621, -122.494675

Eagle's Point is a tourist destination, so expect an occasional crowd taking advantage of the trailside photo opp. Resist the temptation to dip north on the dangerous and rocky user-created trails.


Location: 37.787361, -122.500572

Turn uphill on a series of wooden steps at mile 0.4. You'll climb almost 100 feet before the stair-stepping downhill on the other side of this forested knob.


Location: 37.787003, -122.501015

Stay right at this 3-way junction just before the top of the hill and continue up a few steps before turning downhill heading west again. You're nearly finished with the climbing. The left-leading spur cuts back to El Camonio Del Mar near the Palace of the Legion of Honor, an art museum.


Location: 37.786404, -122.505203

Turn right at this signed junction 0.7 miles from the trailhead. Follow signs downhill toward Mile Rock Beach.


Location: 37.787132, -122.505157

This route does a quarter-mile clockwise loop that dips down toward Mile Rock Beach before climbing to the Land's End Overlook. Turn left at this 3-way junction and descend the wooden steps toward the tideline.


Location: 37.787067, -122.505867

Stay straight at this 3-way junction to continue toward the water. After enjoying the beach, you'll backtrack to this point and return via the narrow north-bound trail that leads from this junction toward Land's End.


Location: 37.787319, -122.506233

Mile Rock Beach is a small, rocky stretch sitting in a protected alcove just west of Land's End. Look left toward Lobos Rock and straight off the beach for Black Heads Rock, just a few hundred feet offshore. Backtrack up the rugged path toward the left turn to Land's End.


Location: 37.787746, -122.505714

Arrive at the Land's End vista where a clear day will provide a view looking straight into the Golden Gate and toward the headlands of Marin County over 2 miles away. Turn back toward the Coastal Trail by following the narrow footpath up the ridge.

Lands End Trailhead

Location: 37.786285, -122.493904

Follow the Coastal Trail from this north-side trailhead off of El Camino Del Mar.

Golden Gate Bridge

Location: 37.78675, -122.494608

A foggy Golden Gate Bridge view from Eagle's Point.

Foggy Cypress

Location: 37.786671, -122.495125

Much of this rugged coastline is shaded by tall, majestic Cypress trees.

Coastal Trail

Location: 37.786671, -122.49662

The California Coastal Trail will extend more than 1,200 miles along the state's shoreline. This urban trail is one of it's many finished stretches.

Wooden Steps

Location: 37.787342, -122.50071

Climbing away from the cliffs, this series of wooden steps is less than half a mile from the trailhead.

Horizontal Cypress

Location: 37.786922, -122.497856

They're not all tall and majestic, some of the trailside cypress are impressive for other reasons.

Morning Glory

Location: 37.787251, -122.501816

Trail Crossing

Location: 37.787052, -122.505493

Mile Rock Beach

Location: 37.787361, -122.506393

Land's End Vista

Location: 37.787743, -122.50563

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