5 Incredible Things You’ll Only Find In The Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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‍Today, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a stunning 1,300 acre refuge located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. But when it was established as a national recreation area in 1962, few could have predicted that this special place would one day become one of America’s most beloved outdoor getaways. The GGRA is part of the National Park Service—a system of nearly 400 parks and sites that are designed to preserve natural beauty and history for future generations. As you can imagine, these things aren’t found in every park. So if you plan to visit any time soon, here are some incredible things you’ll only find in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area!

Explore the art and architecture at Fort Point

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is home to many pieces of public art, but none is as iconic as the mosaics at Fort Point. These mosaics were created in the 1930s and ‘40s by the WPA, a government program that employed artists in order to help the country recover from the Great Depression. This artistic touchstone is also an architectural marvel. The walls of Fort Point were built in the 1850s to protect San Francisco Bay from invasion. The tiles were installed in the 1930s to protect the walls from erosion.

Watch For Wildlife On The Muir Trail

The Muir Trail is a popular hiking route in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The trail starts in the foothills at the edge of the San Francisco Bay and climbs toward the crest of the Coastal Range. At the trail’s highest point, hikers can look out over the river valleys to the Pacific Ocean. The Muir Trail is named after John Muir, a famous environmentalist and founder of the Sierra Club. And while you won’t see Muir on the trail, you will have a chance to see some of the other creatures that make the GGNRA home. Muir Trail hikers have reported sightings of mountain lions, black-tailed deer, bobcats, and the occasional coyote. So keep your eyes peeled on this trail.

Hiking In The GGNRA

There are many trails to hike in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, but one of the most popular is the Trail to the Golden Gate Bridge. This 1.2-mile trail runs from Fort Baker (on the bay side of the bridge) to the bridge’s east end. The trail is accessible on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback. There are many additional trails to explore, including the Lands End Trail, the Coastal Trail, and the Coastal Trail at the Presidio. The latter is a hiker’s paradise, with amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Ocean, the Marin Headlands, and the San Francisco skyline.

Enjoy fancy camping at the GGNRA’s premier campgrounds

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area offers a variety of camping experiences, from traditional tent camping to glamping at a deluxe campsite. Traditional tent camping occurs at the junior ranger program’s campgrounds and the Ecola Creek Campground. Both are remote and rustic, featuring basic amenities like fire pits and drinking water. Gourmet camping can be found at the deluxe campgrounds. These campgrounds have everything from fire pits and drinking water to modern bathrooms, patios, barbecues, and even luxury yurts! For the most luxurious camping experience in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, plan a stay at the GGBY. This premier campground offers waterfront cabins, bed-and-breakfast rooms, and glamping tents.

Go kayaking or canoeing in the Marin Headlands

The Marin Headlands is a wild and rugged landscape that has played a pivotal role in the history of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The headlands were once home to a military base, but today the land is reserved for recreation. There are many activities that one can enjoy in the headlands, but perhaps none is as unique as kayaking or canoeing along the coastal waters. This trip takes you past the Golden Gate Bridge and offers a chance to see wildlife, including whales and dolphins. You may even see planes landing at San Francisco International Airport.

Take in breathtaking views from Mount Tam and points beyond

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is home to some amazing views, but few are as breathtaking as the ones from Mount Tamalpais, the highest point in the GGNRA. At 2,572 feet above sea level, this mountain is an impressive sight. To enjoy the incredible views from Mount Tam, you can hike or take the Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway. To see even more of the GGNRA from high above, you can take a helicopter tour from the Marin Headlands.

Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands is a wild and rugged landscape that has played a pivotal role in the history of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The headlands were once home to a military base, but today the land is reserved for recreation. There are many activities that one can enjoy in the headlands, but perhaps none is as unique as kayaking or canoeing along the coastal waters. This trip takes you past the Golden Gate Bridge and offers a chance to see wildlife, including whales and dolphins. You may even see planes landing at San Francisco International Airport.

Point Reyes National Seashore

The stunning Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the most scenic areas in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This national seashore is home to hundreds of wild animals, including black bears and mountain lions. It also has hundreds of miles of hiking trails and many pristine beaches, including the world-famous Point Reyes Beach.

There is so much to do in GGNRA that it may be difficult to choose where to spend your day. From hiking trails that cut through dense forest and climb up coastal cliffs to kayaking hidden coves and watching eagles soar overhead – there are endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.

 

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