At every turn of the trail on this wild and rocky northwestern corner of San Francisco, there is another stunning view. Along the way you’ll see hillsides of cypress and wildflowers, views of old shipwrecks, access to the epic ruins of Sutro Baths in the Sutro Historic District, pocket beaches, and a new Lookout Visitor Center. You can thank community volunteers who have helped revitalize and restore the native habitat here.
Volunteer with our Park Stewardship program to ensure that the landscape continues to thrive and support wildlife for generations to come.
Public transportation is the best way to get to Lands End.
To plan your trip using public transportation, look for the Get Directions link below the map.
Plan Your Visit
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Begin your visit with a stop in the new visitor center, the Lookout. Learn about the natural and cultural history of the area, and browse the selection of unique interpretive items for purchase.
- Walk north along the edge of the city—and the continent—on the Coastal Trail.
- Wander the evocative ruins of Sutro Baths and explore the nearby gardens, part of Sutro Historic District.
- Scan San Francisco from the Palace of the Legion of Honor overlook and return via the El Camino Del Mar Trail.
- Check out the memorial to the USS San Francisco—a WWII cruiser that sustained 45 hits and 25 fires during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942—and the newly improved adjacent overlook.
- The West Fort Miley batteries offer a grassy picnic area among three turn-of-the-century gun emplacements.
- Wheelchair-accessible trails—made possible by recent improvements—begin from the trailhead at Merrie Way parking lot. Additional parking, with stair access to the trails, is located in the lot at the end of El Camino Del Mar.
The Spanish named Lands End’s westernmost promontory “Point Lobos,” for the many lobos marinos (sea wolves, a.k.a. sea lions) that once hauled up on the rocks offshore. The rocks are now roosts for cormorants and oystercatchers, among other shorebirds.
Northern River Otter
River otters (Lotra canadensis) are a semi-aquatic, carnivorous member of the weasel family. Though they may look cute and cuddly, these charismatic mammals are bigger than you may think. They can weigh between 10 and 30 pounds and measure up to 4 feet long.
River otters are curious by nature and will sometimes approach people. Although this may seem charming, for your safety please keep a safe distance. Wild animals can be unpredictable, and river otters have been known to attack people. Report any encounters or attacks to Park Dispatch at 415-561-5510. It is violation of Federal law to feed or approach wildlife CFR2.2(a)(2).
From viewpoints at Lands End, you can see the remains of three shipwrecks: the Ohioan (1937), Lyman Stewart (1922), and Frank Buck (1937). Ironically, the latter two tankers—which struck the exact same rock off Lands End—also began their days together, side by side in the same shipyard.
To see the freighter Ohioan’s stern post and boilers at low tide, take the stairs down from the Merrie Way parking lot and look over the edge of the northwest vista point. To see the Lyman Stewart’s steam engine and the Frank Buck’s stern post and steam engine, keep an eye out as you walk the Coastal Trail between the vista point and the Palace of the Legion of Honor.
Cliff House Railroad
Long ago, San Franciscans had to travel on horseback or by carriage to the Pacific. By the 1880s, however, the Cliff House Railroad was in place, bringing the ocean closer to the populace.
At different times a Native American fishing ground, a treacherous coastline for doomed ships, and home to an amusement park and swimming facility, Lands End is an important part of Ohlone and San Francisco history. However, by the 1990s it had become a place in dire need of restoration and visitor experience improvements.
A careful, 20-year planning process helped capture the tremendous cultural and natural importance of this site. In 2006, the Parks Conservancy and National Park Service began a series of projects that created a new trail system, trailhead, overlooks, parking lot, and visitor center. They have also restored important coastal habitats and fostered a volunteer program that continues to care for Lands End today.
The project’s planning team involved numerous stakeholder groups including the local community and Ohlone Tribe members. The team did archeological surveys, searched historic archives, and consulted interpretive specialists to determine how to protect and present the site’s history. The fragile sea-battered Sutro Bath ruins were stabilized and preserved, as were other important cultural artifacts such as Ohlone shell middens that are too sensitive for exposure to the elements.