If you're searching for a historic hike in the San Francisco area where you'll get unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge, check out the Fort Mason Trail. You'll find this trail at the Fort Mason Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just west of the famous Fisherman's Wharf. Fort Mason was once a United States Army post, and during World War II, it was the Pacific Campaign's main port.
In the 1990s -- roughly 30 years after Fort Mason, along with several other Army posts in the Bay Area, was deemed unnecessary for Army operations -- Fort Mason became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Today, the original Army hospital at Fort Mason houses the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Headquarters. The other abandoned buildings in the post were demolished to make way for the Great Meadow, a lush open space that residents and visitors enjoy year-round.
The easy loop hike at Fort Mason is just less than two miles, and you can complete it in about an hour. Be sure to keep Fido on a leash during your walk and always clean up after them! The Fort Mason Trail is paved, making most areas wheelchair accessible, and it's also convenient if you'd like to bring a stroller along to push your two-legged children. San Francisco locals note that this trail isn't as busy as many other Golden Gate lookout spots because tourists don't tend to venture this far west of Fisherman's Wharf.
There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the views on this trail, so while you can complete the length of the path in about an hour, most visitors spend at least twice as much time there. Part of the trail takes you along the pier where your views of the water are unobstructed. By the second half of the trail, you'll still be on a paved path, but you'll be strolling through a section of beautiful trees.
Pack water and doggie bags if you plan on visiting this trail. If you and your dog are looking for a leisurely stroll with exceptional views of the Golden Gate Bridge, be sure to add the Fort Mason Trail to your list!