Pictures of Ocean Beach Trail to Cliff House and Sutro Baths Ruins in San Francisco
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 PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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.
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.
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 BayClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 BayClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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 HouseClick thumbnail to view full-size
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 PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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!
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?
CLIFF HOUSE location
© 2010 Peggy Woods