Let me preface by saying this is my favorite Bay Area hike SO FAR. I plan to go on many more adventures, but this hike is worth documenting, noting and sharing.
Depending on your schedule and if you are driving or taking the bus sort of dictates where you start. Ideally, I'd recommend starting at Battery Spencer, making your way down to Kirby Cove and back up to Conzelman Road all the way to Point Bonita Lighthouse (4.4 miles according to Google). Now the only reason I recommend doing it this way is because Point Bonita Lighthouse doesn't open until 12:30pm. Keep in mind that PBL is only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12:30-3:30pm. I like to start my hikes early, so it made sense for me to start at Battery Spencer/Kirby Cove and end at PBL. Now, if you have already seen PBL and don't need to go inside the gate/see it again or you are a late hiker, starting at PBL and ending at Battery Spencer is an option, which was the route we took when doing this hike for the first time. Once you see PBL, you don't really need to see it again do you? There are already tons of other beautiful sights around you that the idea of trying to make it to PBL with a 3-hour window in mind is crazy annoying.
I'm going to share my route of starting at Kirby Cove and ending at PBL. Please feel free to do the complete opposite ;)
1. Start at Battery Spencer to get some pictures of the GGB, of course.
2. From Battery Spencer, head down to Kirby Cove to get some more pictures of the GGB. You might also be lucky enough to swing on the infamous swing if it hasn't been cut down already.
3. Make sure to check out your surroundings before leaving each spot; you never know what you'll find. Most places I visit that I have seen on IG aren't what I've expected or are too crowded with people that have the same idea in mind. I'm usually more impressed with other sights found off the beaten path.
4. Head back up to Conzelman Road and take it all the way until you hit Field Road. Make sure to stop along the way to take in those views! For instance, Headlands Lookout is one of my favorite spots to stop and snap a few pictures. Take a left at Field Road until you come to PBL. PBL is free and like I mentioned, only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12:30-3:30. We ended up going on Memorial Day which was probably the worst idea ever. There were a lot of people there and we had to wait in line to cross the bridge over to the lighthouse. Once we crossed, there really wasn't much space and we were out of there within 30 minutes. My favorite part about PBL was capturing it from afar, but it was nice to experience and see IRL.
5. Wander off. Head back up Field Road and take a left at Mendell Road to check out Battery Mendell. This is where I really enjoyed our hike. It was much more quiet and there were so many flowers blooming everywhere. Battery Mendell was pretty neat too (try prying one of the doors open, maybe you'll get lucky). Heading back up Field Road or Conzelman Road, you'll find two more Batteries: Battery Wallace and Battery Wallace 2. If you have time there are tons more to explore that I am leaving out, but that's for another time. For instance: Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Valley Beach, Muir Beach, Stinson Beach.
6. Head up the trail to catch the 76x back to the city. You deserve a warm bath and a full glass of wine after the day you just had, so go make it happen.
Until next time,