Walk across one of the most photogenic bridges in the world for unrivalled views from both sides.
The Golden Gate Bridge connects the city of San Francisco with Marin County to the north and marks the point where the bay meets the ocean. Consisting of a single span of 2.7 kilometres, it took four years to build and was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1937. Its exposed location called for a robust design that would withstand high winds and extreme weather, yet its elegance and beauty have made it one of America’s most photographed landmarks, as well as a genuine architectural icon.
Every day a constant stream of cars and coaches carries sightseers back and forth across the bridge, but one of the best ways to experience its sheer scale is to make the crossing on foot or by bicycle. There are walkways on both carriageways, safely protected from the traffic lanes by barriers; pedestrians are restricted to the main east walkway during daylight hours only, while cyclists can use either side, apart from early evenings and weekends when the east walkway is pedestrian-only. Even in summer, the winds at the summit can be chilly, so make sure you’ve got a few extra layers of clothing with you before you set out, as well as a snack and a bottle of water to keep you going.
As you cross the bridge, pause to admire the ever-changing views of the bay. Most people start from the San Francisco side and make their way slowly across to the Marin Headlands. Vista Point at the northern end is famous for its wonderful panoramas of the bridge itself and the city far beyond, especially at dawn when the sun rises through the early morning mist, or at night when the famous skyline is outlined with twinkling lights.
There is a public bus service across the bridge, so check out the timetable if you don’t fancy making the long return walk.