Walking from the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito
It’s a long but beautiful walk from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Sausalito Ferry Terminal, and recent improvements have given us both greater access to the best views and greater pedestrian safety along the way. From the pier in Sausalito you can take a ferry back to the Ferry Building (on the Embarcadero at Market St. in downtown San Francisco) or to Pier 41 (by Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf). This parallels a popular bike route from San Francisco to the Ferry.
If you start from the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge at the Vista Point parking lot or the Conzelman Road Parking Lot the length of the walk is between 3 and 4 miles (5 to 6.5 km) depending on how much you alter course to the edge of the Bay to see the striking views.
If you start on the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge at the South Parking Lot of the Bridge in San Francisco (which has many mass transit bus connections), it’s about a 5 to 6 mile walk (8 to 9.5 km) to cross the Bridge and then go down the hill to downtown Sausalito and the Ferry pier.
The Safer New Route to Sausalito
We recommend the new Conzelman Road route to Sausalito for all walkers due to its greater safety and even more beautiful views than the old route, where you walked next to high-speed traffic on the Sausalito Lateral de facto highway.
This new bike and pedestrian path was completed in 2014. It allowed us to delete several paragraphs on this page that described the dangerous old route. Here’s how to take the new path:
Once you reach the Conzelman Road parking lot do not walk up the hill. Instead, cross the lot towards its downhill corner, which is at the middle right of the photo above, at the end of the double yellow line that curves downhill.
When you reach that corner of the parking lot you’ll see a gate (in the photo below) that blocks cars from passing, but that allows bikes and pedestrians to proceed. Signs give the distance to Fort Baker and to the Sausalito Ferry pier. Watch out for bike riders who sometimes will zoom past you on the same route. The vehicle-stopping people-passing gate is shown in the picture below.
Google Maps had a hard time displaying this path correctly, so to make it ultra clear for you we took a screen shot of the map, edited it to remove some bizarre lines that their system added that led nowhere, and included it below. The Conzelman Road parking lot shown above is at the upper left, Vista Point is at the upper right. You can click on the image to enlarge it.
Follow the path past the gate shown above and it will take you down a road that is only for bikes and pedestrians that goes beneath the Bridge and into the Fort Baker area of Sausalito. The path is steep in places so proceed with caution.
After winding down the hill, this path connects with East Road, which runs close to the Bay, with glorious views of the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll recognize spots where some famous photos were taken.
Insiders Tip: When you’re walking inside Fort Baker you can always tell which way you’re going with a simple trick: if the Bay is on your right you are going towards Sausalito, and will eventually rejoin the Sausalito Lateral just before it enters town. If the Bay is on your left you are going towards the Golden Gate Bridge… but unless it’s super-foggy you’ll be able to see the Bridge almost all the time!
Note: To get Google Maps to show the correct route we added the Bay Area Discovery Museum as a mid-point in the route in the map below. For families with small children it’s a great destination in its on right.
Once you do reach the outskirts of Sausalito there will be one more narrow spot in the road (where traffic will be slower) and then you’ll be on regular city sidewalks. Use extra caution walking in this last narrow two blocks of road before you reach the town, since there are no sidewalks and the lanes for cars are narrow as well.
After you twist around a few corners you’ll come to some of the most beautiful views in the world on the Bridgeway Promenade.
Downtown Sausalito and the Ferry Pier are about 1 mile to the north once you reach the southern edge of the city.
When you reach the park with the stone elephants and the fountain, the Ferry pier is one block to your right.
When you’re done exploring Sausalito you can take the Sausalito Ferry to either Fisherman’s Wharf or the Ferry Building… which is a lot easier than walking back up the hill to the Bridge!
Eating on the Way
A fun stop along the way is the Farley Bar (adjacent to Murray Circle Restaurant) at the Cavallo Point Lodge, named after the Farley comic strip character created by the late local author and humorist Phil Frank. It’s expensive, but they have what we’ve named “one of the best burgers in Sausalito,” as well as salads and sandwiches.
If you wait a little longer to eat, you can go to the first restaurant in Sausalito itself, Aurora (on the left after you make a sweeping right turn into town). They offer good Italian food and super-thin-crust (Sicilian style) pizza.
If you just want a great deli sandwich to go with the great view: once you reach the edge of Sausalito look for Golden Gate Market two blocks past Aurora. The deli at the back of this small store makes great sandwiches, and the two guys who work there are pleasant and helpful to tired bike riders and walkers (and hungry website editors!). And they made the top of our list of the Best Sandwiches in Sausalito!
As you walk along Bridgeway there are benches where you can sit, eat, and take in the great views of the Bay and San Francisco.