How to Do San Francisco's Most Scenic Skyline Walk

Crissy Field and San Francisco
Thomas Winz / Getty Images

There are many great walks in San Francisco, but the walk from Crissy Field to Fort Point is one of the country's most beautiful urban walks, with panoramic views in both directions.

You can take this walk at any time of day. In the morning, the Golden Gate Bridge will be bathed in sunlight. In the evening, you may see a lovely sunset behind the bridge and enjoy city lights as you return.

It's a little more than a mile in each direction, and takes about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on your pace and how much time you spend gazing at the scenery.

You'll find public restrooms near the Mason Street parking lot, at the Warming Hut and near Fort Point.

You can park in the Crissy Field lot just off Mason Street, or at Fort Point just below the Golden Gate Bridge. If you're using a GPS, enter 603 Mason Street, which is the visitor center address.

If you're using public transportation and have a mobile device with you, you can use Google maps or other apps to get directions, routes, and schedules.

If you're a hearty walker, you can also get to Crissy Field from Fisherman's Wharf. Walk west from the wharf toward the Golden Gate Bridge, around the edge of Aquatic Park below Ghirardelli Square. Follow the pathway over the side of the hill through Fort Mason and keep going west past the marina. It's a little more than 3.5 miles one way from the wharf to Fort Point.

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San Francisco Sights Going West From Crissy Field

Two people walking on beach with windsurfers in water
Betsy Malloy / Getty Images

The restored tidal flats along the Crissy Field waterfront and the promenade that passes through them form one of the city's most pleasant locales, but it wasn't always like this. It was once the U. S. Army's Crissy Field from 1921 until 1936.

It remained part of the Presidio of San Francisco until the National Park Service took over in 1994. Their restoration efforts included re-planting thousands of native plants one by one to restore the marsh and create a waterfront walking trail. 

Walking westward, you're faced with always-changing Golden Gate Bridge views. Walk off walking path, and in a few steps, you're on the beach. You may see an egret stalking its prey in the shallows, a windsurfer skipping over the waves like an insect, or an ocean-going freighter passing under the bridge.

Midway between the parking lot and Fort Point, The Warming Hut serves coffee drinks, juices, and sandwiches.

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San Francisco's Fort Point

Fort below Golden Gate Bridge at sunset
Joe Daniel Price / Getty Images

Follow the path west to its end, and you'll be at Fort Point, the only brick fort west of the Mississippi, built between 1853 and 1861. Modeled after South Carolina's Fort Sumter, it was to be the most technologically advanced fortification of its time.

Designed to house 500 soldiers and 126 cannons, the fort took so long to build that it was obsolete before it was completed.

All the soldiers packed up and moved out about 1900, but the fort remains nestled below the southern anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge. Go inside and climb to the top level for a unique perspective.

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Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset From Crissy Field

People sitting on sand at sunset beyond Golden Gate Bridge
Christian Heeb / Getty Images

If you walk west late enough to get a view like this, you'll be walking back to your car in the dark. Take a flashlight to make that easier. 

You might also enjoy some Golden Gate Bridge Views.

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Sights Along Crissy Field Going Toward San Francisco's City Center

Man walking on beach with Alcatraz behind him
Betsy Malloy / Getty Images

The return to the parking lot reveals the views you walked away from Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco skyline. 

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San Francisco's Bay View and Berkeley

View of Berkeley from beach
Betsy Malloy / Getty Images

On a clear day, you can see across the San Francisco Bay to Berkeley. Or stop to pet a friendly dog. From some points on the beach, you can see the Campanile tower at UC Berkeley.

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San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts

People biking on trail next to Palace of Fine Arts
Betsy Malloy / Getty Images

Designed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition by architect Bernard R. Maybeck, the Palace of Fine Arts is the only structure left standing from the world's fair.

The original structure, never intended to be permanent, was almost in ruins by the 1960s, when it was torn down and rebuilt from concrete. This beautiful location is popular for weddings and concerts.

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San Francisco's Skyline From Crissy Field

Skyline view with city tinted blue at twilight
Betsy Malloy / Getty Images

If you're still walking about a half hour after official sunset, you may get a fantastic view at a time of day called the "blue hour," a time when the sky turns a deep blue and the city lights just start to glow.

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