Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hike all of SF Post 2: Batteries to Bluffs Trail

I'm on a mission to hike all of SF. These are the stories of my hikes.
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Area of detail in the Presidio
My last hike all of SF post was about hiking from Fort Funston to the Cliff House. This post is about another great coastal hike, the Batteries to Bluffs Trail.


This gorgeous bayside trail is short - 0.7 miles one way -  but still manages to pack a punch due to a large number of stairs. But don’t worry too much about the stairs, there is plenty to distract you. When you’re not staring at breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Marin Headlands, you can learn about the historic gun batteries you pass on the cliffs. 

So what's with the gun batteries? 
As a direct result of the Gold Rush, San Francisco's population exploded from 50(!) in 1844 to over 20,000 in 1850. With this mass influx of people and with San Francisco now on the figurative map, a joint Army-Navy board called for a plan to defend the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Coast. The first forts were put into place on either side of the Golden Gate - one at Fort Point in San Francisco, and the other at Fort Lime, in Marin. 

As time went, on more forts were built, and in 1885, President Grover Cleveland established what was known as the Endicott Board (named after Secretary of War William Endicott) to modernize forts across 22 seaports across the US.    

Battery Godfrey with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background
The first E
ndicott-era battery was built between 1892-1896. This battery, later named Battery Godfrey, remained in place during World War I and over a year of World War II before being decommissioned in 1943. Neighbors Battery Crosby and Battery Boutelle were both completed around 1900. While the guns of Battery Boutelle were dismounted in 1917 (for use in WWI), Battery Crosby remained in operation until 1943. 

The batteries have been out of use for decades now, however, they are worth a visit for an understanding of San Francisco's past.
Batteries to Bluffs western trailhead

Back to the present day...
To visit the Batteries to Bluffs Trail, you can start at the north or south trailhead. In the north, you can park in the Langdon Court parking lot. In the south, you can look for 2-hour parking on Pershing Drive at Lincoln Boulevard. For those of you taking the bus, Muni's #29 line will do the job for you. 

Add another battery to your arsenal (get it?!)
For a slightly longer hike, start your walk at the Baker Beach parking lot. You can walk to the end of the beach to find Battery Chamberlain. Then head up to Lincoln Boulevard and you'll soon see the Batteries to Bluffs trailhead on your left. 

PS - We weren't kidding about the stairs
Let us know what you think of this trail by leaving us a comment on this post. Happy hiking!

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