Hold on to your hat. Fort Funston features 200-foot high sandy bluffs on San Francisco’s southwest coast where the winds blow reliably wildly. No surprise it is one of the premier hang-gliding spots in the country. A network of trails make it ideal for hiking and horseback riding. Dog owners will be happy to know they can take leashes off here. It is also home to the Fort Funston Native Plant Nursery.
Plan Your Visit
- Hang-gliding is especially good in March and October. Fort Funston is a Hang-III (intermediate) site with a launch area and wheelchair-accessible viewing deck. Several hang-gliding shops in the Fort Funston area offer instruction, sales, and repairs.
- Park in the lot off Skyline Boulevard.
- Keep a close eye on the kids, as the surf and undertow are extremely dangerous.
- Be aware that it’s a steep, strenuous hike down to the beach and back up.
- The loop trails at Fort Funston are paved and wheelchair-accessible; the trails down to the beach are not.
- Stay current on the latest dog management policies; click here for updates.
- Help grow native plants for vital restoration projects in our parks; volunteer at the Fort Funston Native Plant Nursery.
Plants with deep roots and a tolerance for harsh conditions are uniquely adapted to growing on a constantly shifting sand-dune landscape. The San Francisco peninsula was once covered with sand dunes, and today the peninsula’s largest remaining dune field can be found at Fort Funston.
Bank swallows (Riparia riparia) once migrated through California in great numbers, but today they are listed as a state threatened species; their only known coastal nesting sites are at Fort Funston and Año Nuevo. Swallows dig holes in the sandstone cliffs and raise their young between March and June. In July and August, the chicks fly from the nests, and their parents follow soon after.
When the first flag went up over Fort Funston’s parade ground in the early 1900s, the San Francisco Chronicle remarked that it looked more like a frontier post than one near a heavily populated city. Later, this fort housed some heavy weaponry: first, the 16-inch guns of Battery Davis, and then, Nike missiles.