Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Walking Wednesday - A Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is said to be the most photographed bridge in the world. I'm not sure about that but the Art Deco design makes it one of the prettiest. Construction began on the suspension bridge across the Golden Gate Strait in 1933.  The 4200 foot long span opened on May 27, 1937 as the longest bridge span in the world. It held that honor until 1964 when the Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened in New York.

I love to walk across bridges and the Golden Gate has been on my bridge list for a while. On a recent trip to San Francisco with my sister-in-law I got to cross this bridge off my list!

We spent the first few days in Sonoma Valley walking and wine tasting and then we headed into San Francisco to finish off the week. Our first stop as we came into town was to walk over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Although we later learned that parking is very limited we actually lucked out and parking was a breeze. Heading south across the bridge from Sonoma Valley (on Highway 101) we took Merchant Rd. exit and parked just beyond the employee parking lot. This was a small parking lot in front of the Battery. It was just a short walk under the tunnel to the visitor's center. From the visitor's center you get a really good view of the bridge. We lucked out and didn't encounter fog like you see in a lot of photos of the bridge. It was a bright sunny day!

It was a pleasant walk over the bridge with no great incline to walk up like so many bridges. On this day bikes and pedestrians shared the same walkway. It wasn't really a problem since the bikes stayed on the inside and the walkers were near the railing.

It wasn't a very long walk - maybe an hour to walk over and back. Of course we had to stop and take dozens of pictures along the way.

It's a long ways down....

Even though the visitor's center was packed with tour buses it seems most people were happy to just get a look at the bridge from a far. There weren't that many people who actually walked over it. They missed out on a great view of the bay and the surrounding mountains.

A few tips:

  • There's no shade so bring water and sunscreen.
  • There are restrooms at the visitor's center but none on the bridge!
  • The Transit Police ride back and forth over the bridge and they're available if you need help.
  • Pedestrians need to walk near the railing to avoid the bikes. (Some go pretty fast!)
  • Vehicle traffic is very noisy. You might consider wearing ear plugs or headphones. 
  • If you drive your vehicle over the bridge you'll have to pay an electronic toll. You can either purchase a toll pass OR pay online after you've crossed the bridge. Check out All Electronic Tolling on the Golden Gate Bridge for complete info.
  • If you drive beware that parking is very limited. We lucked out finding a parking place but you may want to check out Getting to the Golden Gate Bridge. You'll find info on parking and public transportation. 
  • Open times and other important information on walking the bridge can be found at Sidewalk Access for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Don't be content with just driving! Get out of your car or off the bus and take a walk...

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