On our first hike of the new year we set off for the Golden Gate bridge, Point Bonita lighthouse and beyond. We got up relatively late as we only planned a very light hike as the first hike of 2013. The weather was actually perfect and we set off with blue sky and a nice 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). The drive to the Golden Gate recreational area was quite unspectacular: we drove over the Richmond - San Rafael bridge and continued on Highway 101 until we reached the park.
Our first stop was at Hendrik Point where we enjoyed the best view of the Golden Gate bridge ever. This is the most touristy spot in the area but also closest to the bridge. We were very lucky as there was no fog and we had an unobstructed view of the bridge and San Francisco. The next stop was at Hawk Hill which is already less touristy. The view is great and you can pass through a tunnel to the 'other side' and enjoy the view of the sea side and the lighthouse. Shortly thereafter we had dinner at the Bicentennial Campground and enjoyed the great views of the bridge while we ate our sandwiches.
The third stop was near the lighthouse Point Bonita. The parking close to the lighthouse is usually full but there is an overflow parking 0.2 miles from the trail head. The trail is a short walk of roughly 0.8 km (0.5 mi) and leads through an old tunnel to the amazing Point Bonita lighthouse. Enjoy the amazing view and be amazed by the breaking waves at the bottom of the rocks.
To top it off we then walked to Rodeo Cove / Rodeo Lagoon beach and started our extended hike around the Rodeo lagoon. When we reached the beach we continued on the Coastal trail and passed Battery Townsley and continued to Hill 88, tracked back Miwok trail and passed the historic Nike Missile seat on our way back to the car. All in all it was an easy 10 km (6.3 mi) hike that marked the start of this years hiking season.
View hike on a map
View of the Golden Gate bridge right from Hendrik Point.
Great view of the whole bridge with some sunlight glare from the side. It was a wonderful day!
View towards Point Bonita lighthouse from Hawk Hill.
View towards the bridge from the campground where we ate lunch.
My lovely wife with the Rodeo Beach in the background.
Awesome view from Point Bonita lighthouse. The sound and view of the rolling surf hitting the rocks are amazing.
Breath-taking view from Point Bonita towards the Golden Gate bridge.
All in all it was a great hike and we enjoyed most of it. Sometimes it was a bit too cold or a bit too hot (depending on whether we were just walking in the sun or the wind was blowing from the sea) but if you dress accordingly you will enjoy yourself. Just cross your fingers for the perfect weather (thanks to Robert for being our lucky charm and bringing the good weather from New York).