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Pictures of Ocean Beach Trail to Cliff House and Sutro Baths Ruins in San Francisco

Updated on January 3, 2018
Peggy W profile image

California is a state full of natural wonders including many state & national parks. See sites in San Francisco & many other areas visited.

Trail to the Cliff House along San Francisco Bay
Trail to the Cliff House along San Francisco Bay | Source

San Francisco Attraction

This post will showcase many of the photo images that were taken while hiking along California's San Francisco Bay between Lincoln Park and the famous Cliff House and Sutro Baths. Much of this hike is alongside steep cliffs and the pictures hopefully will let you realize just a little more about the spectacular scenery that can be enjoyed along the way if you have not personally hiked this trail and viewed these attractions.

My husband and I had just finished spending some enjoyable time in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor which is a fabulous museum that houses one of the world's greatest collections of Rodin sculptures as well as a multitude of centuries worth of European art.

I had captured an image of my husband in a pose next to Rodin's Thinker sculpture just for fun. An early cast of the Thinker is first seen in the outdoor colonnaded courtyard leading in to the museum. Most people are probably aware of that widely photographed piece of sculpted art. The seated man is in a contemplative pose with his chin resting on the back of his hand with his elbow resting on his knee.

After spending several hours inside the museum absorbing what we could of some of the wonderful selections of art, tapestries, sculptures and more we decided that we would enjoy some fresh air and some exercise.

San Francisco Bay Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Me with a background of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate BridgeLooking back at some colorful buildings perched on a cliff overlooking the Bay
Me with a background of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge
Me with a background of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge | Source
Looking back at some colorful buildings perched on a cliff overlooking the Bay
Looking back at some colorful buildings perched on a cliff overlooking the Bay | Source

Outside the Museum

There are many other beautiful statues that sit atop pedestals and as we wandered the museum grounds. We noticed that a golf course also adjoins the museum on one side. Good views of the Golden Gate Bridge could be seen from many vantage points and the outdoors were being enjoyed by the museum patrons as well as the many people playing golf.

The waters of San Francisco Bay were speckled by the white sails of the numerous sailboats dotting the waters with their presence that day in addition to other types of watercraft.

With the red coloration of the Golden Gate Bridge, the blue waters of the Bay, the manicured lawns of the Palace of the Legion of Honor as well as the adjacent golf course the entire surroundings presented a very pretty visual package.

Rocky shoreline on San Francisco Bay
Rocky shoreline on San Francisco Bay | Source

Hiking Trail

In meandering around the museum grounds we discovered a trail that would take one to the Cliff House and Sutro Baths.

The day could not have been better had we ordered it up special. A crispness to the air with the sun shining brightly made this perfect for wearing sweaters and we were already wearing good athletic shoes since we knew that we would be on our feet exploring different areas in the San Francisco area. Thus we were well prepared for this three mile round trip hike when we happened upon this discovery.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Inland trail a bit further from the cliffs.Gorgeous wild environs
Inland trail a bit further from the cliffs.
Inland trail a bit further from the cliffs. | Source
Gorgeous wild environs
Gorgeous wild environs | Source

Images

With camera in hand my husband and I started this sightseeing hike and as the many photos to follow will show sometimes the trail went inland just a bit however most of the hiking trail took one alongside the cliffs which dropped dramatically in places down to San Francisco Bay.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Vegetation along San Francisco Bay hikeMore wildflowersPeggy Woods
Vegetation along San Francisco Bay hike
Vegetation along San Francisco Bay hike | Source
More wildflowers
More wildflowers | Source
Peggy Woods
Peggy Woods | Source

Hiking Photos

All along the trail were not only the grand impressive images such as those looking down at San Francisco Bay with the waves crashing against the rocky cliff shoreline but also more intimate sightings like those of wildflowers. The wildflowers were in abundance!

My husband and I had started our vacation in late April and there is a profusion of flowering vegetation both wild and domesticated in California that time of year.

Dead Man's Point sign / San Francisco Bay

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source

Warning Signs Along The Way

As we were making our way along the coastal hiking path there were many signs along the way pointing out the more dangerous places. Some of the cliffs had sheer drop off points and in other places the ground must have been determined to be unstable as slides had occurred.

It was thrilling to be near enough to see the wildness of this portion of the San Francisco Bay coastline and yet it certainly behooves one to be cautious and adhere to at least normal parameters of staying safe. Some people in our opinion were pushing the limits of that safety.

Hiking trail to Cliff House along San Francisco Bay

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Those people are sitting dangerously close to the edge.A portion of the path leading away from the cliff for just a short space
Those people are sitting dangerously close to the edge.
Those people are sitting dangerously close to the edge. | Source
A portion of the path leading away from the cliff for just a short space
A portion of the path leading away from the cliff for just a short space | Source

As we continued along the path, each twist and turn brought new views. We and others along the same hiking trail seemed to be enjoying the scenery on this marvelous day.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Iceplant in bloom with Golden Gate Bridge in backgroundClose-up of iceplant bloom with a bee in the centerMore photo images from this hike along San Francisco BayLooking down from the trail along San Francisco Bay
Iceplant in bloom with Golden Gate Bridge in background
Iceplant in bloom with Golden Gate Bridge in background | Source
Close-up of iceplant bloom with a bee in the center
Close-up of iceplant bloom with a bee in the center | Source
More photo images from this hike along San Francisco Bay
More photo images from this hike along San Francisco Bay | Source
Looking down from the trail along San Francisco Bay
Looking down from the trail along San Francisco Bay | Source

As we got closer to the Cliff House and Sutro Baths the trail brings one a little closer to the crashing surf and more warning signs.

Photos of San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House

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San Francisco Bay close to Cliff HouseSan Francisco Bay close to Cliff HouseSan Francisco Bay close to Cliff HouseSan Francisco Bay close to Cliff HouseThis dangerous surf was close enough for me!Flowers taken in parking lot at the Cliff House
San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House
San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House | Source
San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House
San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House | Source
San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House
San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House | Source
San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House
San Francisco Bay close to Cliff House | Source
This dangerous surf was close enough for me!
This dangerous surf was close enough for me! | Source
Flowers taken in parking lot at the Cliff House
Flowers taken in parking lot at the Cliff House | Source

Cliff House

This is a landmark building located on the northwest side of San Francisco which has attracted visitors for over a century and continues to do the same today. It sits on a promontory of San Francisco Bay overlooking Seal Rock which is aptly named as one can almost always spot seals residing on those jutting rocks just offshore in the ocean waters.

The physical address is 1090 Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121.

This spot was undoubtedly chosen for its stunning views of natural oceanside beauty. The first visitors that made the effort to visit from San Francisco arrived by horse and carriage.

Various incarnations of the Cliff House have been built on that same promontory over the years the largest and most grand being a multi storied Victorian structure that sadly burned to the ground in 1907 after having survived the San Francisco earthquake in 1906.

Today visitors can enjoy panoramic views while dining on site from the very casual Bistro Restaurant where we stopped to take a short rest and grab a bite to eat. There is also the more formal Sutro's Restaurant on site. In the Terrace Room a Sunday brunch is offered.

We happened to take this hike and visit this spot in 1991. Since then in 2003 a two story wing has been added which overlooks the Sutro Bath ruins.

Cliff House / Sutro Baths Photos

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The Cliff House is sitting on the promontory ahead of us. Sutro Bath ruins with Cliff House in backgroundLooking down on the Sutro Bath ruinsAnother view of the Sutro Baths
The Cliff House is sitting on the promontory ahead of us.
The Cliff House is sitting on the promontory ahead of us. | Source
Sutro Bath ruins with Cliff House in background
Sutro Bath ruins with Cliff House in background | Source
Looking down on the Sutro Bath ruins
Looking down on the Sutro Bath ruins | Source
Another view of the Sutro Baths
Another view of the Sutro Baths | Source

Sutro Baths

In the same year of 1896 that Adolph Sutro (a wealthy entrepreneur and former mayor of San Francisco) built the very fancy multi story Cliff House that simulated a Victorian chateau he also had the Sutro Baths constructed.

At that time the Sutro Baths comprised the largest indoor swimming pool complex in the world. Consisting of one fresh water pool and six salt water pools the engineering feat of their construction was admirable.

Each hour when the tide was high the salt water pools would have the water naturally circulated and replenished and at low tide a series of pumps accomplished the same effect in five hours time. Heaters kept the water temperatures controlled. This was no small scale enterprise!

Adolph Sutro had traveled the world collecting artifacts and souvenirs and had them displayed in a museum on site. In addition there was a concert hall and skating rink to accommodate the masses of people who could frequent and enjoy this place of gathering, rest, exercise and just plain fun.

The Sutro Baths burned down in 1966. Sadly all that remains today of the Sutro Baths are the bare bone ruins of the past glory. But the scale of these ruins gives one an idea of the size and scope of what was once a draw to visitors from far and wide who must have greatly appreciated the ambiance of this spa like setting.

Restaurant at the Cliff House

After hiking the one and a half miles along the craggy seashore cliffs to the Cliffhouse and Sutro Bath ruins we decided that we were a bit hungry. We had been on our feet for some time considering the time spent at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor museum prior to our hike so we were also in need of a short rest. The casual Bistro restaurant suited our needs perfectly!

With windows facing the Seal Rocks and being able to view the wildlife in the area along with the ever changing scenery of watercraft navigating the waters of San Francisco Bay this was a perfect place to sit awhile and nourish our spirits along with our bodies.

While enjoying the views we each enjoyed a cup of delicious clam chowder and some sourdough bread. Now we were ready for the hike back.

My hubby inside the the Bistro restaurant of the Cliff House
My hubby inside the the Bistro restaurant of the Cliff House | Source

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Cliff House and Sutro Baths were acquired in 1977 and are now a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area operated by the National Park Service.

My husband and I were so happy to have stumbled upon this Ocean Beach Trail and thoroughly enjoyed this portion of a vacation day in San Francisco many years ago. It is definitely a place in San Francisco worth some time when planning a visit.

If the photographic images of our hiking to the attractions of the San Francisco Cliff House and Sutro Baths inspires you to experience the same you will undoubtedly create some of your own good memories. Be sure to take your camera!

Scenery as we head back...Golden Gate Bridge faintly in view...
Scenery as we head back...Golden Gate Bridge faintly in view... | Source

From what you have just viewed, would you enjoy taking this hike along the Ocean Beach Trail to see the Cliff House and Sutro Baths?

See results

CLIFF HOUSE location

A
CLIFF HOUSE:
1090 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA

get directions

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Definitely. It would also be interesting to know how much and who paid for it?

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      It would have been interesting to know more about that sculpture, the artist and why it was placed there.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Yes, it is too bad. I remember while driving, I believe it was in Utah, there was a modern art sculpture on the side of the road. A strange thing to be in the middle of nowhere.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      Too bad you did not have the time to get out and take pictures along the way. To take them while driving is obviously not as safe as you mentioned. Photos have always been my favorite type of souvenir.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Yes, it is. A couple of drawbacks though. Trying to reach the destination meant not taking side trips. Another drawback is driving alone means you can take memories but not pictures, at least not safely.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      It sounds like you got to view some lovely scenery on your cross-country trip. That is a great way to see our country!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      I did drive from Oakland on I-80 then drove across the country. I saw the tall pines.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      I believe you would have enjoyed seeing some of San Francisco. I've gotten to spend some time there on three different trips to the wine country north of there but have yet to see all of that marvelous city. This hike to the Sutro Baths was part of a very special day. The scenery was stellar!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      Another great travel article with awesome photos. San Francisco was a missed opportunity for me. I was in the Sunnyvale area for a few months but never got to San Francisco.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello htodd,

      So glad that you found this information regarding the Cliff House and Sutro Bath ruins interesting. It is just one of many great attractions in San Francisco. Thanks for your comment.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the great hub...This is really great info

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello tracykarl99,

      Thanks so much for the very complimentary comment. We loved the hike from the Legion of Honor to the Cliff House and Sutro Baths and back again. It was such a pleasant discovery of ours while in San Francisco on one of our trips.

    • tracykarl99 profile image

      Tracy 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Peggy - You are a fabulous travel writer! I sometimes believe that it takes someone who does not live in San Francisco to best discribe it. You captured the city's beauty so well, down to the very "crisp" air! This hike and the lawn at the Legion of Honor are two of my very favorite spots!! Well done:)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Seakay,

      May I carry your bags? Haha! We also love San Francisco and its environs. So much to see and do there. The Cliff House and Sutro Baths were a nice discovery for us but obviously have had a long history in that area. Thanks for commenting.

    • Seakay profile image

      Seakay 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Hi, Peggy! I loved San Francisco. You have made up my mind to go back on my next vacation! Thank you for reminding me how beautiful it was!

      Great Pix!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi msorensson,

      I would put San Francisco high on my list also as a favorite city. The Cliff House and Sutro Baths were a nice discovery and interlude one day while visiting there. We have been there 3 times and have yet to see it all. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 

      8 years ago

      San Francisco is my most favorite City in the whole wide world. Glad to be reminded, thank you Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello TattoGuy,

      OK.....got you down for the next hike. It might be someplace else than San Francisco and the Cliff House and Sutro Baths. OK with you? :-)

    • profile image

      TattoGuy 

      8 years ago

      Looks really stunning, book me up the next hike !

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi jacobkuttyta,

      You are welcome. Glad you enjoyed the hike to the Cliff House and Sutro Baths along San Francisco Bay. I got to relive it as well when writing this hub. Thanks for the comment.

    • jacobkuttyta profile image

      Siny J 

      8 years ago from Delhi, India

      Thanks for sharing the photos and the trip details.

      I felt that I am visiting the place with you.

      Thanks

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi agusfanani,

      Happy that you appreciate these trip memories. We have had some great times in San Francisco and this was just a portion of one day seeing this hiking path between the museum and the Cliff House and Sutro Baths. Thanks for the comment.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 

      8 years ago from Indonesia

      Wow it's another great trip you've made Peggy. Thank you for having introduced your hubby too...

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello IslandVoice,

      My husband and I have not visited San Francisco in a while, but when we return, we will continue to explore other attractions of which there are many. Enjoy your 3rd visit to San Francisco! Perhaps you can write about it?

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Wealthmadehealthy,

      You are so correct in that pictures taken while on vacation in San Francisco or anywhere for that matter make for good memories. Thanks for viewing this hub about the Cliff House and Sutro Baths and leaving a comment.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi habee,

      Hope you make it to San Francisco to see not only the Cliff House and Sutro Bath ruins but also many of their other attractions. We have really enjoyed our visits out there. Thanks for the comment.

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      8 years ago from Hawaii

      San Francisco will always be one of my favorite destinations. My husband and i plan our 3rd trip there, and i hope to see more. Thanks for such a lovely hub.

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image

      Wealthmadehealthy 

      8 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      What a magnificent hub!! I can go somewhere and not leave my computer!!! I am sorry I have not visited more often!!

      You were so fortunate to have made this little journey!! I am so happy for you and I know this was a bit back, but ah the memories all captured on film forever! God Bless!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I've always wanted to see that area - now more than ever! Awesome pics!!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello ASHWINSPGA,

      Very happy to hear that you liked this particular San Francisco attraction...the hiking included...to the Sutro Baths and Cliff House. The hiking made the visit so much more enjoyable for us! Thanks for the very complimentary comments.

    • ASHWINSPGA profile image

      ASHWINSPGA 

      8 years ago from Lion City ( Singapore)

      Amazing hub Miss Peggy. WOW!!! especially the crashing waves. simply astounding. And you write pretty well too. Honored to be your fan. keep them coming...

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Truth From Truth,

      Oh...believe me, if this caught your attention as to San Francisco attractions...you are in for a real treat if you ever visit. This just scratches the surface (barely) as to all the wonderful sites and experiences you will find there. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Ive never been to San Francisco , but with your pictures and points of interest I must visit one day. Thanks

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello The Old Hack,

      We were also surprised to find out about all those Rodin sculptures in that one museum attraction in San Francisco. But that is the joy of exploring and discovery. The Cliff House and Sutro Baths were also fun to learn about and the hike getting there was pure joy. Thanks for reading and leaving your comment. Have you written about your Prague experience?

    • The Old Hack profile image

      The Old Hack 

      8 years ago

      What an amazing place. I was very surprised to learn that the greatest collection of Rodin’s work was in California. I once spotted a small sculpture by Rodin in a side street off Charles Square in Prague, it looked like a giant piece half sucked boiled sweet, or what I think you call “hard rock candy”. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      Thanks for taking a look at these San Francisco attractions...the Cliff House and Sutro Baths. Where is the location of your Humber Bridge? I would agree with you that the setting of the Golden Gate Bridge is certainly spectacular.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Micky Dee,

      So you have a house that looks just like the Cliff House? Is it also built on a cliff? Thanks for reading about these particular San Francisco attractions and leaving your comment.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi dahoglund,

      Not to worry...I have been getting your comments and appreciate each and every one. Thanks!

      As to living in San Francisco, as beautiful as it is and with all the many attractions such as the Cliff House, Sutro Baths and many that are even more famous...the only downside is the expense. It costs a lot to be able to live there comfortably in comparison to many other places around the country.

      We certainly do enjoy going there to visit! :-)

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pete,

      Living in San Jose and getting to see more of San Francisco must have made many good memories for you. My husband and I have enjoyed our trips to San Francisco each time and always seek out different areas to explore...then we generally head on up into the wine country.

      Have you written about your hike around the Rock of Gibraltar? Would be fun to read. Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Hello, hello,

      That hike which was unplanned and just "happened upon" was certainly that.....beautiful! We might have at sometime driven to the Cliff House and Sutro Baths just to see them since they are a San Francisco attraction...but finding that hiking path and doing it the way we did was so much better an experience. Happy that you liked the pictures.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello RNMSN,

      Actually our hiking that trail was fun and we obeyed the posted signs so were in no danger. The scenery on the way to and from the Cliff House and Sutro Bath ruins is certainly spectacular. Happy to hear that you enjoyed the pictures. You can release your grip on that chair now. Ha! Thanks for the comment.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Our Humber Bridge is as spectacular but the scenery and surroundings leave a lot to be desired.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Very nicely done. My house looks just like that! Thanks!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      San Francisco has many appeals. Your picture are great. A friend of mine interviewed for a job out there and was very disappointed that he did not get it. Not because the job was special but because the city was.He ended up spending working for Univac in the Canary Islands for some time. After too much paradise he went back to Minnesota.

      In case you thought I was ignoring your comments, I think I have answered them all. Some glitch or other changed the setting on my hub pages so that I was not getting notified of comments. I've corred that now.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 

      8 years ago

      That is one if my favorite cities. I lived in San Jose for a year back in the late seventies. I also did a similar hike along the Med side of the Rock of Gibraltar. The view was great.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      It is beautiful according to your pictures. Thank you.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      oh my goodness Peggy you are an intrepid hiker!! the pics had me clinging to the arm of the chair!!! love to you!!

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