Marshall Beach: San Francisco’s Secret Beach

Sports Basement's CEO and President is keeping our spirits high! Read about his absolute favorite run in San Francisco:

Located just west of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marshall Beach is one of San Francisco’s most beautiful spots. You can gaze at the Marin Headlands, marvel at the Bridge, scamper on the rocks or play in the sand. When the tide is low (currently around 1:30 in the afternoon), you can walk along the beach all the way to the Bridge -- and touch the cement bases! Literally, you are under the bridge. And best of all, hardly anyone ever goes here – perfect for social distancing.

Marshall Beach is great for families or a group of friends (a great plan to make after this is all over). The walk from the beach entrance to the base of the bridge is about 0.5 miles and can only be done at low tide. Even then, you need to scamper over some rocks, which can be slick, but it’s not dangerous. Your reward is getting all the way to a part of the bridge few ever see. 

Hiking to Marshall Beach (1-mile round trip)

The easiest way to get there is to park at Fort Scott, head to the water, go left, and hug the coast. You will see signs marking the trailhead, Once there it’s a steep descent to the beach on a well-maintained trail. All the way to the base of the Bridge is a 2-mile round trip. This long beach has many great places for a picnic.

Running to Marshall Beach (4 miles, 8 miles, or 10 miles round trip).

My favorite run in San Francisco is running to Marshall Beach. You combine flats, stairs, trail, and beach all in one. And best of all if you are a morning runner, you likely won’t see anyone once you hit the trailhead. A runner’s high is guaranteed. You can also go for different mileages and still get to the beach:

TrailheadThe 4 miler: Start at East Beach and run past the Warming Hut. Go up the stairs to the bike path (you can go through the tunnel but it’s very low). Follow the bike path under the Bridge, stay along the coast until you reach the Marshall Beach trailhead, and head down to the beach. 

The 8 miler: Start at Aquatic Park and follow the bike path to East Beach and follow the 4 miler instructions. 

The 10 miler: Start at the top of Russian Hill (Vallejo Street between Jones and Taylor). Take the Vallejo Steps down to Mason, enjoy one of the best city views. Take a left on Mason and head to Fisherman’s wharf. Follow the bike path to East Beach and then follow the 4 miler instructions.

And here's what your reward will look like!



  • Juan Rapido says...

    Y’all know that Marshall Beach is a legendary SF spot for men to sunbathe naked and hook up. This is not a family friendly location. Okay, maybe it’s family friendly when you first get to the beach, but do not take your family past the rocks toward the bridge unless it’s raining. Your runners need to check themselves, because while it’s public, this is also a famed spot for non-running activities.

    On March 25, 2020
  • Robert Richmond says...

    Awesome! I love these posts during the shelter in place!

    On March 19, 2020
  • Roni says...

    Thanks Eric! Great suggestions.

    On March 19, 2020
  • Lars Althoff says...

    Ranger at Ft. Point told me the beach immediately to the West of the GG Bridge is off limits. He called the police on people there. Homeland security…

    On March 19, 2020
  • Alexei says...

    While this is a nice writeup, I think it’s a bit of an oversight not to mention that there may be a fair number of very naked people hanging out there!

    On March 19, 2020

Leave a comment