While visiting the biodiverse shorelines of the Presidio, you can’t get much closer to the Golden Gate Bridge than at Marshall’s Beach. This rugged stretch of sand and rocks is a favorite destination for photographers. Even clothing-optional sunbathers are known to frequent on warm days.
To access, you must go by foot down the Batteries to Bluffs Trail from the entrance near Battery Godfrey. We suggest parking at Fort Scott and walking down the Batteries to Bluff Trail from there to gain access. You can also park a mile away at Baker Beach and trek up the sand ladder, then the Batteries to Bluffs Trail.
Plan Your Visit
- Because of its hard-to-reach location, Marshall's Beach is foot-traffic only and can be accessed by taking the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. The closest parking is the Baker Beach lot, a mile away and many dramatic views from Marshall’s.
- Marshall's Beach is frequented by clothing-optional sunbathers.
- Landslides have strewn boulders and large rocks across the sands. The northernmost part of the beach is only accessible at low tide and can be precarious to access.
- Its proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge makes this beach a destination for any photographer wishing to add a glory shot of the famous span to their portfolio.
- The only way to access Marshall’s Beach is by foot off of the Batteries to Bluffs Trail.
- If you’re starting from Baker Beach (where parking is located), take the Sand Ladder up to the California Coastal Trail, then connect to the rugged Batteries to Bluffs Trail which will take you to Marshall’s Beach.
- No restrooms. For facilities, visit Baker Beach.
Outcrops of gray-green serpentine protrude among the cliffs between Fort Point and Baker Beach. Serpentine forms when rocks deep in the earth’s crust are altered and forced to the surface. Serpentine yields soils unusually high in magnesium and low in calcium, which spur special adaptations among rare plant species.
South of Marshall’s Beach
In 1858, John Bensley dammed Lobos Creek at its mouth near Baker Beach and built a redwood flume that carried the water around to Fort Point and modern-day Fort Mason, marking the advent of the city’s first permanent water supply.
The army built Battery Chamberlin on Baker Beach in 1904 to protect the harbor’s minefields. In 1977, the Golden Gate National Parks acquired a 97,000-pound cannon of the type originally emplaced here, and visitors today can still see this “disappearing” gun that can be cranked in and out of its hidden emplacement.
North of Marshall’s Beach
During the War of 1812, the British landed in Chesapeake Bay and marched straight into the nation’s capital. To prevent future embarrassments, President James Madison ordered a new system of forts (known as the Third System) to guard the nation’s seaports. Completed in 1861 at a cost of $2.8 million, Fort Point was the only “Third System” fort built on the Pacific Coast.
1504 Pershing Drive,
Golden Gate National Recreation Area,
San Francisco, CA 94129