Panorama on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, California
Panorama on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, California

Kirby Cove hike

North Bay
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Trailhead gates on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaGolden Gate Bridge on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaSan Francisco on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaMoldy pine cone on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaRock formation on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaRocky shore on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaView from picnic bench on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaView of Golden Gate Bridge on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaRocky beach on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, CaliforniaBattery Wagner on Kirby Cove hike in North Bay of San Francisco, California

Kirby Cove hike

Distance: 2.7mi
Elevation: 466ft
Time: 1-1.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.7 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

The Kirby Cove trail is highly traveled by tourists and for good reason. This hike has some of the best views in the Bay Area, with outstanding views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Kirby Cove Trail also has a rocky shore beach at the halfway point that is excellent for picnics.

Kirby Cove Hike Map

Getting there

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and take exit 442 onto Alexander Ave. Immediately turn left and cross under the highway and follow Alexander Highway for a couple of minutes. Turn right onto Conzelman Road and follow it to the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point which is on your left.

I’ve done this 39 people have done this
I want to do this 45 want to do this route

About

When to do

Year round

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

At Kirby Cove Campground

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Good

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Lollipop


Kirby Cove
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Kirby Cove

From the parking lot at the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point, you immediately get rewarded with some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Bay Area, so soak it in and snap some photos. Then head to the right toward the white gates on Kirby Cove Road and start the trek down the hill. This trail is a dirt road and acts as an access road for rangers.

Continue on this road until you hit the beach. Along the route down to Kirby Cove, you will pass Kirby Cove Campground, an absolutely exceptionally situated campground, that unfortunately needs to be booked up to a year in advance for a spot.

While descending, keep right at any path splits. Once you see the beach you can walk across the rocky shore. Here you’ll find Battery Kirby, a defensive maritime artillery battery to defend San Francisco Bay. Construction began in 1898 and the Battery was in service until 1934, when it became obsolete.

The Kirby Cove Beach is a great place for a break, and we love the views back to San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge from Kirby Cove.

Once you are ready to head back, start by returning the way you came.

On the way back up the hill, on the right side, you will see a small side trail that takes you to Battery Wagner. This historic battery was operational from 1895 to 1920. While it is a short detour off the trail to see the 19th century cement structure, we think the views from here are worth it.

Get back on the Kirby Cove Road and continue the journey back to your car.

While not shown on our map, you can also continue from the parking lot on the trail that leads out to Ridge Battery and Battery Spencer. This trail offers fine views, but is much more crowded.

Insider Hints

  • There is extremely limited parking at this location, so plan to go early on a week day if possible.

  • There will be a lot of people on the trail mid day, so plan to avoid mid day hiking here if possible and avoid the crowds.

Comments

Betty K. 2 years ago

I’m glad I went and got to see it, but I was very disappointed with the people.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Francine Robertson 2 years ago

Very picturesque trail. Gorgeous surroundings

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2h 00m Time Taken
cindychu 2 years ago

Wonderful views of the city and rocky shore beach.

10.0 Overall Rating
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2h 00m Time Taken
YashKumar 2 years ago

There are beautiful views over the bay, it's a great place to spend time with the family and with friends.

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2h 15m Time Taken
yanagichan 2 years ago

It was beyond anything I expected!

10.0 Overall Rating
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2h 00m Time Taken
Nora T. 2 years ago

The beach has an amazing view. it's a lovely quaint beach with so many beautiful photo opportunities

10.0 Overall Rating
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2h 30m Time Taken
Stumpyboots 2 years ago

The view is so amazing! A truly hidden gem in the Bay Area.

9.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Kenny Walks 2 years ago

Very beautiful! It was also a popular spot for photos.

9.0 Overall Rating
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2h 30m Time Taken
James Barnes 2 years ago

Awesome child-friendly area. The views were beautiful, but I wouldn’t rate them as exceptional.

9.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Stevie M 2 years ago

Stunning hike down to the aqua blues. Amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2h 30m Time Taken
44 Comments Show all

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