Oftentimes when people imagine California, they envision this red bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic image and you have probably seen countless photographs of it, especially if you happen to reside in California. People are willing to travel from all corners of the world just so they can pay a toll and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. As a child, I should have been honored to be living nearby this national monument. But nope, as a kid, I despised this place.
Whenever my L.A. relatives came to town, they’d want to visit this bridge. And so we’d suffer through hours of traffic on a Saturday morning (when all of the best cartoons were on TV!). By the time we arrived in SF to see the bridge, everyone would be hungry, and so we’d all drive across it just so everyone could say they saw it, and go eat some really, really, really, really X infinite, bad Chinese food. I shudder every time I reflect on those memories.
Now I realize that maybe I’ve been taking this bridge for granted. I’ve definitely developed a greater appreciation for it over the years and have enjoyed it more ever since my dad drove me across it at 4 AM. We had the bridge all to ourselves. I still remember my face pressed against the window, my eyes blinking sleepily before opening wide to capture the full moon overhead as we passed under the towers of the bridge. Beautiful, majestic, magnificent….none of those words would even begin to describe the way the moon illuminated the pitch black sky.
I swam right beside that bridge…sort of…as I made my way towards Crissy Field Beach during Swim Across America. I ran across it, and it reinvigorated me after 15 miles, during my marathon training. And on Monday, after 24 years of living in the Bay Area, I finally simply walked across it for the first time. If you’re a Bay Area resident, it should be something you do at least once in your lifetime.
So approximately two months ago, my dad had spinal fusion surgery in his lower back. Two metal rods and four screws later, he’s back to where he was prior to the surgery. As the optimist in the family, I think yay, that’s great! At least he’s not worse off than before, but alas, my dad does not think that way. He has been quite frustrated by the lack of instantaneous results in his recovery process, but over the weekend, he added something to his ‘want to-do’ list: Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. As I’ve learned early on in my life, if my parents are happy, life is good. So yeah, my sister, mom, Mark, Calvin, and I decided to fulfill my dad’s wish.
We parked by the Sports Basement on Old Mason Street, bundled up, crossed the street, and made our way on the Golden Gate Promenade. Dolly and Calvin were my main subjects this time around.
From where we parked, we walked about a mile to the bridge, but it’s a scenic walk and you get to be right alongside the water. There’s even a Warming Hut Cafe where you can stop by for some hot drinks or food before you continue your stroll.
Make sure you keep an eye out for signs. Cross the street to continue on the promenade. These are the only steps you’ll have to climb, I promise.
Once you get to the top, you’ll walk several hundred feet and then you’ll get to walk through a tunnel! Once you exit the tunnel, you’ll be closer to the bridge. Getting onto the bridge may be a little tricky, so keep an eye out for signs or follow people who look like they’re heading in the right direction.
It is a 1.7 mile walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t be fooled by the calm weather down in the city. It is way windier and colder on the bridge!
But when you get to the other side, there are plenty more views to see (there’s also a clean public bathroom if you need to use one).
The entire trek, to and from the bridge, totaled about 6 miles. There are numerous places to pause and take photographs, and the walk is predominantly flat.
Take your time soaking up the scenes before strolling back. Afterwards you can go find a restaurant in the city where you can enjoy a nice warm meal! I suggest visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and taking this walk with your family if you haven’t done so already. It’s fun, relaxing, and you get to be outdoors!