Walking San Francisco to Fisherman’s Wharf and Over the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

We have made an extended stopover in San Francisco. The main reasons being the timing of flights and the need to have a Covid Test within 48 Hours of boarding a cruise ship in Seattle. Our one-day plan includes a supervised covid test in the city, Fisherman’s Wharf and walk all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge. Last time we were here we only walked halfway across (but we walked 15km to get there that day).

We chose to stay at the Airport Travelodge just for its convenience to the airport. Not the best choice as it turned out. Just a very basic roadside motel located in an industrial area.

We arrived at 8am and caught the complementary Travelodge Shuttle to the Motel. Once in the room we went to bed for a while to make up for the overnight flight.

South San Francisco Industrial City

South San Francisco Sign

After our rest it was too late to go into town so we decided to explore the local area on foot. There is a huge sign on a nearby hillside that proudly lets you know the environment you are in “ South San Francisco The Industrial City “.

Click on any photo for full image

Our walk took us South and to a road around and behind the airport carparks to the muddy waterfront where we intercepted the San Francisco Bay Trail. A 500 mile trail around San Francisco bay.

We followed the trail for about 3 km or so admiring fuel oil tanks, planes taking off, light industrial facilities, United Airlines Engine Test Cells, Safe Harbour shelter (a 90 bed emergency homeless shelter) and men standing knee deep in mud fishing. None of which is in the tourist brochures.

South San Francisco Bay Trail

We enjoyed the walk nonetheless. I find walking around such places interesting there is always something different to see. We also found a Geocache as an added bonus.

San Francisco and Fisherman’s Wharf

To get around we decided to use public transport in San Francisco which is pretty good and easy to use with the Muni app. Just load with some US$. With the app running you just scan your phone to pay as you board the bus, tram, train, ferry or trolley bus. The Cable Cars are extra.

The next morning we caught the local bus for the 40 minute trip into down town San Francisco. We got off the Bus and had morning coffee at Pier One. Strolled to the covid testing facility, we both tested negative which was a huge relief. Immediately uploaded the results to the required apps to board the cruise ship in 48 hours and enter Canada next week.

The cable car terminus to Fisherman’s Wharf was nearby so we joined the long que for a little while. Then I had the bright idea, we have ridden the cable car before so why don’t we walk and just follow the cable and tracks to the wharf instead. That way we get to see more, get photos of the cable cars and get some exercise at the same time! Not sure Trish was as keen on this idea as I was.

Halfway up the big hill Trish was definitely not keen on this walk at all! Nevertheless Trish is tough and kept on going to the top of the hill.

San Francisco Cable Cars

A short break to catch our breath and continued on down the other side of the hill through Chinatown, past the Chinese hospital (no ambulance ramping here) and the rest of the way to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch at Alioto’s Restaurant.

Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf

The traditional dish here is the famous clam chowder served in a bread bowl. Just as good as I remembered and a must have while you’re here. Trish had a boring gluten free meal but very much enjoyed walking off lunch by wandering around all the market stalls several times.

Golden Gate Bridge

Unlike our last visit we are not walking from here to the Golden Gate Bridge but caught the bus instead. Trish was much happier with this option.
This iconic landmark never fails to impress and just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge just begs to be walked across.
We made a tactical error here. Do we catch the bus, which stops just above to the tourist area on the Southern side, across the bridge (Northern) and walk back or, walk across the bridge and then catch the bus back. We chose the latter and headed off past the crisis help signs and phones to walk all the way across.

I really enjoy walking across big bridges and this has to be one of the best. Took 100s of photos and enjoyed the height, views and watching the big ships and the Ruby Princess pass underneath us.

Ruby Princess under Golden Gate Bridge
Ruby Princess passing under Golden Gate Bridge

There was scaffolding below the footpath in places where they are installing the safety netting to catch jumpers. Today most of the netting was missing but fortunately there were no jumpers taking advantage of the opportunity.
Now for the tactical error. The bus stop at the other end (Northern) of the bridge is not at the other end of the bridge, or near the car park, nor are there any signs on how to get to the bus stop. It was around 6:30pm and there seemed to be no one walking to any bus stop to ask the way.

Golden Gate Bridge from the North
Golden Gate Bridge from the North

Finally found it using google maps on a road about a kilometre North of the bridge. When we arrived luckily there was a lady at the bus stop. When asked she advised this was not the bus stop and we needed to walk further down another road (on the road no pathway) and we would see a bench. That was the bus stop, but hurry it will be here soon.

On the way walking down the road facing the traffic the bus approached we tried to wave the bus to stop but we were 200 meters from the bus stop so he just waved back and kept going. We arrived at the bus stop about 7pm which seemed very isolated, no one around and It is now getting dark and cold. I had no phone signal however I had downloaded the schedule which advised the next bus would not be for another hour. We considered walking back across the bridge but it would take longer than the bus so decided against it. About 45 minutes later full of self-doubt we huddled together for warmth and shared a jacket to keep out of a little of the cold wind and wondered why we are still the only ones here!!

Golden Gate Bridge (North) bus stop
Golden Gate Bridge (North) bus stop

To our great relief the bus turned up, took us back over the bridge and into downtown San Francisco.

We walked around town for a little while, but it was now 9pm and we were just to tired to do anything more so searched for the right bus stop and caught the bus back to South San Francisco and bed.

Off to Seattle tomorrow morning.

A few more photos below. Same problems here as other big cities. Although I have never seen the toothpaste in locked cabinets before.