Batteries to Bluffs Loop

San Francisco

Explore history and scenery along the dramatic coastline near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
2.1 km
Ascent
81 m
Descent
81 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
20 m
High Point
100 m
Gradient
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Batteries to Bluffs Loop Map

Description

Batteries to Bluffs Trail is an excellent tour of the scenery and history on the San Francisco coastline. It winds along seaside hills covered in colorful vegetation, crosses the walls of wartime defense structures, and reaches a beach with a picture-perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s a sandy path for hikers only, and is generally less busy than other trails in the area. Staircases aid some of the ups and downs, and narrow traverses cut across some steep slopes. Those afraid of heights may get nervous in places, but it’s safe if you are careful. Children should be closely supervised, especially around drop-offs on the walls of the batteries.

Battery Crosby is the primary defense structure along the trail. The huge guns that once armed it have been removed, but you can walk inside the turrets that housed them. Climb the stairs to get on top, and see the vantage once strategic for defense. If you want to explore more batteries, take a short side trip from the northern end of Batteries to Bluffs Trail to visit Battery West and Battery Godfrey.

Another spur leads to Marshall’s Beach, which is well worth the extra stairs to reach it. This sandy and rocky beach is rarely crowded, but has one of the best views anywhere of the Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t miss the photo opportunity.

Other highlights along the loop include a World War II memorial and Immigrant Point Overlook. If you want, you can skip those two and shorten the loop by returning on California Coastal Trail, which is completely flat and parallels Lincoln Blvd between either end of Batteries to Bluffs.

Sources: https://www.presidio.gov/trails/batteries-to-bluffs-trail https://www.presidio.gov/transportation-internal/Shared%20Documents/presidio-trails.pdf

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area