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Can You Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge?

Updated: February 28, 2024
 By Britt

Whenever we're offering one of our guided tours in San Francisco, we're sometimes asked about how to walk across this historic landmark.

To make the whole process easier on everyone, we decided to make this visitor's guide to the Golden Gate Bridge, with tips on how to get here, where to park, where to get the best views and more.

Check out our pay-what-like tours of San Francisco, including our Golden Gate Bridge tour!


The Golden Gate Bridge is located over its namesake, the Golden Gate Strait, and stretches from San Francisco on the southern side to the Marin County side on the north.

It's a must-do on most itineraries and is #1 on our things to do in the San Francisco post.

The bridge stands approximately 3.5 miles (5.5 km) west of Fisherman's Wharf (25 min by bus - see below).  

Where is the Golden Gate Bridge

If you're coming from the downtown area (Union Square, Civic Center), the easiest way to get here is to take US-101. Alternatively, vistors coming from the west (Golden Gate Park) can take HWY 1.

Parking at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center (map) is very limited (particularly during the peak tourist season) and driving there is generally discouraged, but we provide a few alternative parking options that will allow you to drive to the bridge if you so choose.


It's easy enough to arrive by mass transit. There are numerous buses that will take you to the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge.  

We recommend using this Google map for directions to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center from anywhere in San Francisco.

Bus to Golden Gate Bridge Map

From downtown San Francisco, you can take Golden Gate Transit bus numbers 10, 70, 92, 93, and 101.

They will all stop at the toll plaza, which will allow you to walk out to the Bridge.  The cost of a bus ride is $2.50/person each way.

Before crossing, consider making a stop at the Round House Cafe along the way to grab some Equator Coffee!


There are a total of 9 parking lots on the south end of the bridge within walking distance of the landmark, all of them located inside the Presidio of San Francisco.

The map below shows 4 of the most popular options on the San Francisco side, including the Fort Point National Historic Site Parking Lots (golden yellow), the Battery East lot (bright yellow), the Employee lot (red), and the Crissy Field lot (green).

Golden Gate Bridge Visitor Center Parking

You can also park at the Palace of Fine Arts, at 3399 Lyon Street.

That parking lot gives you 4 hours of free parking - plenty of time to walk the 2 miles to the bridge, enjoy your time there, and walk back.  

For more details about some of the other parking lots nearby, please read our post covering Golden Gate Bridge Parking. This post includes maps and other information to help you pick the best spot.

Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge

Possibly the most memorable experience in San Francisco is riding a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.  

From Fisherman's Wharf, it's only 23 min along a beautiful (and mostly flat) waterfront to the bridge.  

If you're going to ride your bike to the bridge, you should take a look at our earlier post, Biking the Golden Gate Bridge and Ferry back.

This post gives a great overview of how to ride your bike across the bridge from San Francisco to Marin County, having a nice meal in the little bay-side town of Sausalito, and then taking the ferry back downtown.

If you've never done it, it makes for a wonderful vacation day!

If you are considering a bike ride and ferry, then keep in mind that both are included for free with the purchase of most tourist discount passes available in San Francisco.

These passes can save you between 15% - 55% on attractions, depending on how many popular attractions that you would like to see.

Bike the Golden Gate Bridge

IMPORTANT: There are no bike rentals at the welcome center. You need to rent a bike from downtown.  

We provide information of several bike shops where you can rent bikes for the trip across the bridge.

For further information regarding walking and biking on the bridge, please visit the Golden Gate Bridge biking information website.


Pedestrians have access to the East Sidewalk, a pedestrian walkway which can be reached from the parking lot on the Marin side and from either the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center parking lot or from the walking trail we mentioned before. 

We also offer a self-guided tour as a companion guide for your walk.

East Sidewalk Hours

  • 5:00 AM – 6:30 PM November through early March.
  • 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM from early March through early November.
  • All times are in PST (Pacific Standard Time)

NOTE: Due to the amount of cyclists and pedestrians crossing the bridge, this sidewalk is off-limits to skateboards, skates, roller blades, and other forms of transportation using wheels.

When is the best time to go to the Golden Gate Bridge?

The bridge is a beautiful entryway to the San Francisco Bay every day of the year!

However, there are times when the bridge can be socked in with fog, making it a bit harder (or impossible!) to see these majestic views.

Although there is no way to predict whether it will be foggy on the day of your arrival, we have a couple of good tips for you:

  • Best months to visit: September and October (beautiful, often warm weather)
  • More troublesome months to visit: July and August (usually cold, foggy, and windy!)

How long does it take to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

The answer to this question depends on where you start, because you'll of course need to factor in the amount of time needed to walk to the bridge.

If you're coming from the Welcome Center parking lot, it'll be a short 5-10 minute walk. However, pedestrians walking from the Fort Point parking lots can expect a 15-20 minute hike.

The walk across the bridge will take approximately 30-45 minutes, so if you factor in the time to get there, you should set aside at least an hour for this activity.

Can you walk across the Golden Gate Bridge at night?

While it is not possible to walk across this landmark after dark, the bridge is open for cyclists 24 hours a day.

The pedestrian sidewalk closes at 6:30 pm each day (9 pm from March - October). Cyclists should of course wear reflective clothing and ensure they are visible while on the bridge after the sun goes down.

Can you walk across the Golden Gate Bridge for free?

Yes! The only tolls for this bridge are paid for by motorists. Both pedestrians and cyclists can cross the structure for free.


Below are 4 spots that we think make for memorable photo opportunities.

The first two are on the south side of the bridge and the remaining 2 are on the north side.

(1) - If you are driving, the best place to park is just down the road from the welcome center at Battery East Parking Lot

This spot is just as good if you are biking or taking the bus. 

There is a small field with a great view of the bridge. This spot is alongside a hiking trail that leads from the water to the welcome center. 

Click the (map) for directions to this photo spot.  

There are several other photo opportunities along the trail. In the background, you can see the Marin Headlands, which is on the north side of the bridge.

View of Golden Gate Bridge from Welcome Center

(2) - Fort Point

If you are planning to visit Fort Point or you decided to park there, you will be treated to an excellent photo opportunity. This time, you will be at water level looking up to the bridge.  

Click the (map) for directions to Fort Point.

View of Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point

(3) - Marin Headlands (Vista Point)

For this view, you will need to cross the bridge to the north side. If you are driving from downtown, you will need to pay the toll.  

This vantage point is likely the most famous of the bridge. You will see it on countless postcards. This view allows you to capture San Francisco in the background.  

You are also much closer to the bridge and looking down on most of the structure. There is parking near the lookout point.

Click the (map) for directions to this spot. 

Best Golden Gate Bridge Photo Spot

If you are walking or biking across the bride, there is a set of stairs at the parking lot on the northeast side that leads under the bridge and to a path that takes you up to Marin Headlands. 

As you can see in the image below, there is an elevation change of approximately 200' (60 m) over .5 miles (800 m) from the parking lot on the north side of the bridge to Vista Point, so be prepared for some effort.  

NOTE: There is a vista point at the north parking lot, but the view pales in comparison.

Marin Headlands Visita Point Directions

(4) - Fort Baker (Moore Road Pier)

Not as easy to get to, as you will need to exit 101 and drive down to the water level, but this is another great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and if you turn around you'll get an excellent view of the Pacific Ocean as well!

You will pass Fort Baker if you are biking or walking to Sausalito, so this could be a good choice for you.

Be sure to use this (map) for directions to the pier.

Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Baker

This is also a steep climb, but it is downhill, a 240' (73 m) over .8 miles (1.3 km), and takes approximately 15 minutes to walk.

Moore Road Pier Golden Gate Bridge View


San Francisco golden gate

How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?

The bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1964, measuring 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) from abutment to abutment.

How tall is the Golden Gate Bridge?

From the water, the highest tower of the bridge reaches 746 feet (227 meters).

Who designed it and when did it officially open?

The Golden Gate Bridge was designed by engineer Joseph Strauss and officially opened on May 27, 1937.

On completion of the bridge, Joseph Strauss wrote The Mighty Task is Done, a poem dedicated to San Francisco’s newest installation.

What color is the Golden Gate Bridge painted?

Trick question! Although many people assume that our famous bridge will be gold-colored, they are surprised to see it painted some other strange shade.

Though often shrouded in a thick layer of fog, visitors can still see the bright color of International Orange paint peeping through the western skyline, beckoning visitors to its towering presence.

That color was specifically chosen to stand out against the often foggy days of San Francisco.

San francisco bridge view

What are some more interesting facts about the Golden Gate Bridge’s history?

Being one of Northern California’s most prolific beacons, naturally, the Golden Gate Bridge has a long and storied history.

Featured in over thirty Hollywood films, the bridge has also seen its fair share of real-life drama.

At least three babies have been born while crossing, one ostrich has escaped from a vehicle on it, one Guinness World Record has been set (largest number of people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period), dozens of protesters have used it as a platform, and countless other events have happened on the bridge.

Sadly, the bridge has also seen a number of jumpers since it opened to foot traffic in 1937, prompting Bay Area officials to fundraise for a safety net that will soon be installed.

Renovations and maintenance continuously occur on the bridge, so you can be sure that the bridge will always be in tiptop order.

Which movies have I seen The Golden Gate Bridge in?Golden Gate Bridge close up

To name a few:

  • Terminator: Genisys (2015)
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
  • Star Trek (2009)
  • X-Men: Last Stand (2006)
  • The Sweetest Thing (2002)
  • Princess Diaries (2001)
  • Homeward Bound II – Lost in San Francisco (1996)
  • The Rock (1996)
  • Nine Months (1995)
  • Final Analysis (1992)
  • A View to Kill (1985)
  • The Love Bug (1968)
  • Vertigo (1958)
  • Dark Passage (1947)


We offer two options.  A guided walking tour as well as a self-guided version.  


The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous places in the world! 

Join us on our Golden Gate Bridge tour to discover the place that many people said was impossible to build.

We will take you through the whole history of the bridge starting from the idea that began it all to the final rivet that was put into place.

On this tour, we’ll show you some great places and tell you fun stories such as:

  • Why is the "Golden" Gate Bridge painted red?
  • The best photo spots of and on the Golden Gate Bridge
  • A view from underneath the bridge
  • The visionary who got the "impossible" bridge built
  • Scientific exhibits showing how the bridge was built
  • A great view of San Francisco from the bottom of the tower

Tour information

Reservations: REQUIRED. Click here to reserve. Groups of 6 or more must contact us before booking.

Where: We meet outside the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center, right next to the Bridge Cafe. Use our Google map for directions to the tour starting point. Look for your guide with the orange shirt.

Duration: The tour lasts about 1.5 hours. The total walking is under a mile (1.6 km).

When: On a limited basis during the winter.  View our Calendar

Cost: This is a name-your-own-price tour. That means the tour is free to take, and at the end of the tour, you decide how much the tour was worth to you. Our guides are happy to take cash or credit card, whatever is most convenient to you!

Save even more money in San Francisco with a discount tourist pass!

Take Walks

This company is relatively new to the San Francisco area, but they're quickly making a name for themselves.

Take Walks is currently offering two tours which include a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Their main Golden Gate Bridge Tour is relatively short and it focuses solely on the one landmark.

Alternatively, they also have a San Francisco in a Day tour which includes this notable site.

Whether you want to see the whole city or you just want to experience this one location, you may want to consider one of the following outings.

Golden Gate Bridge Tour

  • $15 per person
  • Availability: Limited.
  • Duration: 1 - 1 ½ hours
  • Includes close up look at the bridge.
  • Includes overlook of the bridge.

San Francisco in a Day Tour

  • $89/Adults, Students | $84/Children
  • Spring/Fall Availability: Mon & Sat at 9 am
  • Summer Availability: Mon, Thur & Sat at 9 am
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Includes Golden Gate Bridge tour.
  • Includes Fisherman's Wharf tour.
  • Includes a Chinatown tour.
  • Includes a Cable Car ride.

Golden Gate Bridge Yoda

Things to Do Near the Golden Gate Bridge

There are plenty of interesting activities near the Golden Gate Bridge.

1. If you are any kind of science fiction/fantasy fan, you can't miss out on seeing Yoda and Darth Vader!

Although this is a bit of a hike from the welcome center to the bridge, George Lucas' Lucasfilm Studios has a location at the Presidio, the old military base at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.

Standing guard outside the main studio entrance is a "life-sized" bronze statue of Yoda. Inside the main entrance is a full-size statue of Darth Vader!

This is a perfect trip for fans of the Star Wars movies. Follow our map to get there!

2. For some fantastic underside views (and pictures!) of the Golden Gate Bridge, take a walk down the hill to Fort Point. There are some great bay views as well.

This is a fun place to walk around and experience while gazing at one of the world's most famous bridges!

We put together a walking map to make your trip easier.

3. The Walt Disney Family Museum is a fun and exciting trip for people of all ages.

No matter how old the visitor is, there are fun artifacts from their favorite Disney movie in the museum.

In fact, did you know that Walt Disney was only able to make Snow White because a famous San Francisco banker provided the seed funding for the movie?

(Take our North Beach/Little Italy tour to hear the full story!) And visit this map to get directions to the museum!

4. For the really adventurous soul, head on over to the House of Air trampoline park!

The park has 42 TRAMPOLINES to thrill and excite. You can take a look at a video of the place to see what they have to offer.

But remember: if you are going to visit this amazing place, be sure to make a reservation as far in advance as you can. The place sells out very quickly.

So have fun, and enjoy your visit to the Golden Gate Bridge!

Tips From Locals and Travelers

Although we do our best to provide all the details you'll need to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, there's always a chance that we'll end up missing something.

In those cases, we are very fortunate to have a Facebook Group dedicated to answering any additional questions you may have.

We also highly recommend the San Francisco Travel group on Facebook.

If you want an idea of how helpful these sources can be, here are a few of the more useful recommendations we were able to find.

This user makes a very good point, noting that it can get quite cold and breezy when you're walking across the bridge.

While most people can take it, others find it a bit too cold. Thankfully, another user has some advice to help with that!

A windbreaker is pretty much essential for anyone planning to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It should also be noted that kids might not want to make the entire trek across due to the bracing wind.

While most people do not recommend walking from the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, some insist that it's an excellent activity that is entirely doable for anyone willing to make the trek.

For even more excellent suggestions and advice about walking across this iconic bridge, make sure to check either our Facebook Group or San Francisco Travel.


About The Author


Britt is a San Francisco Bay Area native, and has spent 25 years in this magical city. He has traveled to over 30 countries, and has never found a place he loves as much as this one! If you come to San Francisco, you might join one of Britt's tours of the city. A graduate of the University of Maryland and University of Southern California, he has been leading tours for Free Tours by Foot since 2015.
Updated: February 28th, 2024
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