The Golden Gate National Recreation Area was set aside by the National Park system to protect the gorgeous area surrounding the bridge. There are many scenic outlooks, drives and trails to better appreciate the natural beauty so go beyond snapping a photo at the Toll Plaza lookout. Start off by walking to the other side of the bridge. It’s free and only two miles. Give yourself some time as there are great views of the city and bay. There is a view point on the right as you enter Marin County but the more spectacular views are on the left. There is a foot passage going under the bridge from the crowded viewing area. Head to the other side and you’ll see a sign leading you to the Coastal Trail. It climbs steeply to a parking area for those less physically inclined. From here, you’ll see not only the remnants of a battement but also awe inspiring views of the city, bay and the bridge so close you feel you can reach out and touch it. The road beyond this view point offers amazing vistas with every turn.
Though the Golden Gate Bridge remains San Francisco's signature sight, it symbolizes not only the city but also an era when California was viewed as the culmination of Western Civilization. It's an impressive sight spanning some two miles between the exclusive Presidio neighborhood of the city proper with scenic Marin County to the north. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world at its completion in 1937 so you can imagine the clamor to see it. Any bridge set between these two impressive chunks of land would have garnered attention but painting it red seems to have sealed its fate, and periodically enshrouding it in fog has raised it to near mythic proportions. We were on the city bus over to the Toll Plaza viewpoint and there were two young German girls excitedly waiting to see the bridge evidently for the first time. When it came into view, they high-fived with huge smiles as if one more of the world's wonders had been conquered. Such is the power of this mass of steel painted red. I believe it is the fog that makes it so special as you're never quite sure if you'll see it all. From the Wharf, you often see either none or just pieces of it jutting through the mist. It is easily accessible by MUNI bus 18 that stops at the Toll Plaza viewpoint, but the most dramatic way of getting there is to walk along the Bay coastal trail and let the bridge come progressively closer. Once at the Fort Point Lookout, there is a trail that runs up through a rocky outcropping to the Toll Plaza viewpoint with various views along the way, including a nice area with picnic tables away from the masses at the top. The classic view if from up there and there are some nice gardens to frame the bridge too.
Yes, you can ride the bike path over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito/Tiburon and return via ferry! Blazing Saddles is a bike rental company that has a kiosk at Pier 39 (pics 3-4). It’s really easy and nice to ride from the pier to the bridge and then use the bike lane, so no hassles before you go downhill into Sausalito. At the end you can catch the ferry back to SF or continue along the Bay to the picturesque town of Tiburon (there’s also a ferry there). The prices depend on the type of the bicycle, a standard mountain costs $28 while a comfort mountain $32. They also have guided tour but they cost more of course and the don’t take you after the bridge (you can keep the bike and continue on your own though) Check their site for more info: http://www.blazingsaddles.com/
Golden Gate Bridge (pics 1-2) is by far the most famous landmark of SF. It was built in 1937 to connect San Francisco and Marin County and it is 1.7 miles long (at that year it was the longest suspension bridge in the world) and its located at the opening of the San Francisco bay onto the Pacific ocean. Every one can recognize the bridge because of its red color and elegant design. Some days you may see it covered by fog which is also nice, actually only the towers can be seen then. And it’s almost always windy and cold up there, even in summer. You can walk along the bridge on a pedestrian lane (at specific hours) or use the bike lane as I suggest above. A lot of suicide jumpers seem to prefer this bridge too…
Fort Point makes my list as San Francisco's most underrated tourist attraction. I think it's a must see; so many folks go to see the GG Bridge, but right down the hill stands this gem. Fort Point is located directly underneath the bridge on the SF side. Chief bridge engineer Joseph Strauss toured the fort when plans were being made to demolish it to make way for the Golden Gate, and said, "While the old fort has no military value now, it remains nevertheless a fine example of the mason's art... it should be preserved and restored as a national monument." He then designed the archway allowing the bridge to be built over the fort.
While many believe it is a "civil war" fort, that is not technically accurate. The fort was started in 1855, to guard against Spanish and French ships who might be after California's newfound gold, and only coincidentally was finished in time for the Civil War.
Two events very nearly shifted the balance toward the Confederacy. A group of Confederate sympathizers approached commander Albert Sydney Johnston (a Kentuckyan) and asked him to help lead a revolt. Johnston - a man of the highest honor - refused, dispite his feelings, citing his allegiance to the Union and the job he swore to uphold. He later resigned his post to become a Confederate officer, and was killed in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.
Later, the CSS Shenandoah was on its' way to attack San Francisco, in what promised to be a fierce fight, only to learn from a passing French ship that the war was over.
Since 9/11, Fort Point has often been closed due to terrorism comcerns, because of its' location directly under the bridge. At the moment, it is only open Fri, Sat, & Sun, from 10-5. Bring warm clothes - it can get very chilly on the water, even when the sun is shining all around.
Best of all, admission is FREE!
I recently ran across a discussion on another travel talk board debating what is the "most famous bridge in the world". The opinions seemed to be split between the Tower Bridge, in London, and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. A slight edge gave San Francisco's span the victory in that discussion.
The bridge certainly is a symbol (if not THE symbol) of the City. Many are shocked at first glance to find that it is not gold. "It's orange!", they cry out... feeling slightly betrayed! (It's actually painted continually with a rust preventative coating).
The name Golden Gate actually refers to the opening to the San Francisco Bay, not the bridge itself. This was a welcome view, when not obscured by fog, to the many exhausted seafarers who traveled to California to get rich during the Gold Rush.
There have been a series of Gold Rushes in California since that famous first discover in the1800's. And many created as many busts as wealth. Perhaps the dot.com era is the latest example of this.
Regardless, the Golden Gate Bridge is a wonderful representation of one of the world's most beautiful and inviting Cities.
What can I say here, it is a beautiful site to see , a little advice if you come up here bring a jacket it is very windy but a wind that you don't mind ,the view from here is spectacular .
This is well worth seeing ,we are at the vista point on the Sausalito side of the
Golden Gate Bridge
The Sailboat added to this great view.
Before its completion in 1937, the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE was considered unbuildable because of foggy weather, 60 mile-per-hour winds and strong ocean currents sweeping through a deep rugged canyon below.
At a cost of $35 million, the 1.2 mile bridge took more than four years to build. Eleven men lost their lives during construction.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are allowed across the bridge on pathways.
The bridge toll for vehicles is $5.00, collected when entering San Francisco.
Beautiful and astounding! Walk across for a different perspective. The bridge takes you to the pretty town of Sausalito on the other side of the bay, and you can take the ferry back to San Francisco. Visit my travelogue for more images.
Golden Gate Bridge is the most famous landmark of San Francisco. It connects the city with Sausalito and the Marin County and therefore crosses the entrance of the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
The bridge is part of the famous highway nr. 1 which runs along the californian coast and offers a lot of landscape highlights. Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most spectacular.
Sometimes people are surprised to see that it's painted red while they expected a golden bridge. The explanation is simple. The waterway from the Pacific to the Bay is called the Golden Gate.
The bridge has a very scenic setting. Go there on a weekend and enjoy already your walk towards the bridge. You meet lots of joggers, sunbathers on the beach, people who picnic and you can watch the sailing boats on the water.
San Francisco's most well known attraction. The Golden Gate Bridge was built in 1937. It took approximately four years to build and over $35 million. The bridge is 4,200 feet long and links San Francisco with Marin County. If you care to take a walk across the bridge, it takes approximately 50 minutes.
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