Lands Zen

Hiking Lincoln Park Steps and Lands End in San Francisco

Find a little peace in San Francisco on an urban walk featuring a beautiful new stairway, panoramic views, a labyrinth, and plentiful coastal drama. Indeed, Lands End is a popular outing on the weekend, but go early or a couple of hours before sunset to avoid the thick crowds. And start at the Lincoln Park Steps at the very end of California Street.

This once simple and crumbling staircase has been transformed into a colorful work of mosaic art. Brightly colored tiled steps lead up to Lincoln Park. At the top, turn right and walk the dirt trail along the golf course. The trail crosses the street to join Lands End Trail, the coast-hugging beauty that gives way to views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and Point Bonita Lighthouse.

Less than a mile in, take the turnoff for Mile Rock Beach. This is also the way to the famous Lands End labyrinth. Claim your calm here for a while or continue down to the pocket beach and sidle up to a piece of driftwood. Lands End Trail continues for another half mile to the modern visitor center and popular Sutro Baths ruins. Return the way you came. This hike’s so classic we like to return to it, every now and zen.

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BONUS FOOD & BEER: Add a little comfort food and beer to your outing by stopping at the Lincoln Park Bar & Grill. Keep south past the Lincoln Park Steps for about a block, and you’ll see it on the golf course. This place is not fancy, and the patio seating leaves a bit to be desired, but its location on the golf course and view of the Golden Gate makes up for it, as does the BLT sandwich and chicken strips & fries.

Start at the Lincoln Park Steps, at California St. and 32nd Ave. (map). Walk up the stairs and turn right. Walk beside the golf course, cross Lincoln Hwy., and start walking the Lands End Trail. It’s about 1.5 miles (one-way) to the end. Turn around and come back the way to you came. Dog-friendly!

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