Fort Funston

San Francisco, California 94132

Fort Funston

Fort Funston Professional Review and Guide

"There are three good reasons to hike the trail on the former military complex at the southwestern corner of San Francisco, now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The coastal views north across to the Marin Headlands are stunning. The trail is a stitch in the California Coastal Trail. Lake Merced Military Reservation was established in 1900 as a defense post for San Francisco Bay.

The base was renamed for General Frederick Funston in 1917, and the fort was a Nike missile launch site during the Cold War. The compound was deactivated in the 1960s and eventually absorbed into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area."

More Fort Funston Professional Reviews and Guides

"Watch hang gliders soar on ocean breezes at the launching site in Fort Funston and take in sweeping vistas from a former military observation point. Begin this diverse San Francisco stroll on foggy, bluff-top dunes at a defunct military site, now part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. On your way to historic Stern Grove you’ll pass two freshwater lakes, dip into sunny and protected glens, and cross residential neighborhoods on mostly paved trails. A steep 115-foot climb in the last 0.1 mile gives you a sense of accomplishment."

"For me, Fort Funston means two things: dogs and dunes. This sandy spot, situated in San Francisco’s southwest corner, is well loved by canines and their humans alike. If you’re not a fan of our four-legged friends, you may want to skip this hike. It is a veritable puppy paradise—full of sights, smells, and space unparalleled elsewhere in the city. What’s more, the absence of leash laws here means that your dog can roam free and unfettered along the trails."

"If they built an amusement park just for dogs, it would look like Fort Funston. I mean, this Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) park puts the fun in Funston. Dog owners are actually encouraged to take their dogs off leash for frolicking with the seemingly hundreds of other dogs that scamper along the park’s paved Sunset Trail. There are plenty of places to stop and sniff, areas to chase balls, and plenty of warm sand to roll in."

"Fort Funston is often foggy and breezy, but no matter what the weather, you can enjoy the clean ocean air and the sandy landscape alternately covered in ice plants, eucalyptus, and Monterey cypress. If you happen upon this cliff-side destination on a sunny day, you’ll also be treated to views of Sutro Tower, the Cliff House, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Pacific Ocean."

"This trail is best in fall and winter, when the fog clears and a walk at dusk will bring goosebumps—not from the chilled Pacific air, but from the sight of the sun sinking into the ocean. Pick up the Sunset Trail near the viewing area for the hang gliders and go north. It meanders through the coastal bluffs (signs warn against getting too close) for 0.75 mile to the park’s boundary. Then you can loop back around to your car."

Fort Funston Reviews

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Fort Funston Photos

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Trail Information

San Francisco
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Trail Type
Skill Level
1 hour
184 feet
Trailhead Elevation
184 feet
Top Elevation
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Mason, Building 201, San Francisco 94123; (415) 556-0560; Fort Funston, (415) 5568642. Call or check the website for current dog policy.
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Oct 2018