Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Building 201, Fort Mason
San Francisco, California 94123
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Local Phone: (415) 561-4700

The 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area was created in the 1970s with substantial donations of land from the City of San Francisco. From that day to this, residents of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties have flocked to the GGNRA for its designated purpose: multiple-use recreation for urban residents.

Only about one percent of the GGNRA is dog-friendly, but that one percent includes jewels like Fort Funston, Crissy Field, Rodeo Beach and beautiful Muir Beach, where dogs can play off-leash in designated areas.

Canine companions on leash or under voice control are allowed on many trails, making the GGNRA a treasured resource for Bay Area dog lovers. Rules vary from place to place, so make sure to check out the regulations before searching for a parking spot. 

Open space aside, the GGNRA includes many museums and historic sites holding relics from more than 200 years of history.  

golden gate, recreation area, beach, trail, open space, dog-friendly, off-leash,

Scoping out Muir Beach - Photo Credit: @quinceytheaussie
Scoping out Muir Beach - Photo Credit: @quinceytheaussie
Muir Beach, Marin County. This is a Bay Area classic: A crescent of sand bordered by high bluffs to the north and south, with wetlands and a lagoon behind the strand. Dogs under reliable voice control (meaning Daisy comes immediately when called) are allowed off-leash in designated areas. more »
Park users tell it like it is
Park users tell it like it is
With Bay Area populations growing and Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) lands being ever more heavily used, the National Park Service (NPS) in 2001, under the guise that dogs were harming wildlife and the environment, first moved to severely reduce the areas where four-legged companions would be allowed, both on-leash and off.

Existing rules defining dog-friendly trails and beaches had been established in 1979, allowing dogs on approximately 1 percent of the 80,000-acre patchwork of public lands spanning three counties. Various iterations of the proposed GGNRA Dog Management Plan were produced in ensuing years. The final draft would have banned dogs from 90 percent of existing off-leash space, half of on-leash trails and all access in the San Mateo County portions of the GGNRA. more »
Lands End Trail - Photo Credit: gastondog (CC)
Lands End Trail - Photo Credit: gastondog (CC)
In San Francisco, GGNRA lands wrap the shoreline almost all the way from Fort Mason in the north to Fort Funston in the south, with a few breaks along the way. Dogs and their people can enjoy miles-long leashed walks with ocean views and, at a few places, unclip their canine companions to chase the surf and run free. more »
Kayla at Muir Beach - Don
Kayla at Muir Beach - Don't Leash Me In!
The most troubling impacts of the ill-conceived Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s dog management plan will be felt in Marin County, where historic access to trails and beaches will be drastically reduced or cut off completely for thousands of pet owners.

Residents of several communities in Marin will no longer be able to walk their dogs on trails in their own neighborhoods and will instead have to drive long distances in search of pet friendly areas. more »
Enjoying the view, and the freedom. Photo Credit: RACINGMIX (CC)
Enjoying the view, and the freedom. Photo Credit: RACINGMIX (CC)
If the National Park Service’s proposed dog rule goes through, it will constitute the largest single reduction in recreational access for people in the history of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. more »
Best friends hike at Sweeney Ridge. Photo Credit: steph_schwartz
Best friends hike at Sweeney Ridge. Photo Credit: steph_schwartz
Stretching from Pacifica to Half Moon Bay, the San Mateo County coastside has long been a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and dog lovers. Where else can one find a world-famous big wave surf spot named after a dog, Maverick?

Starting in early 2017, this way of life will be severely impacted if the Park Service’s proposed dog management rule goes through. In San Mateo County, the rule will cut on-leash dog walking trails by 50-65% at four popular dog walking sites—Mori Point, Sweeney Ridge, Milagra Ridge and Rancho Corral de Tierramore »
Photo Credit: Scott Kidder (CC)
Photo Credit: Scott Kidder (CC)
by Sally Stephens

San Francisco Examiner post 3/27/16

Congress created the Golden Gate National Recreation Area “to concentrate on serving the outdoor recreation needs of the people of this metropolitan area.” That’s from the official report of the creation by the U.S. House of Representatives. And that’s also why Congress made it a National Recreation Area — not a National Park.

Yet some people, in a radical reinterpretation of history, are now trying to claim the GGNRA, which includes Ocean Beach, Fort Funston, Muir Beach and Crissy Field, was always intended to be a traditional national park. more »
Kayla and friends at lake
Over the past year, our hiking pages and listings have become the most visited of all activities on In addition to the terrific hikes presented in this newsletter, we have some perennial favorites. Here are some great ways for you and your pup to put paws to the path in 2014. more »
Sharp Park Pacifica beach pup - Janet Fullwood
Sprawled along the six miles of coastline just over the hills from San Francisco International Airport, the once working-class community of Pacifica has morphed into a haven for well heeled commuters. It’s also a haven for DogTrekkers who relish fresh air, wide-open scenery and thousands of acres of roam-worthy public lands. more »
Pee Wee in Marin
Pee-wee at Muir Beach
Marin County is spring-loaded with dog-friendly places, but we at DogTrekker have some tail-wagger favorites. The good news in the beach department: after months of parking-lot restoration work, beautiful Muir Beach is due to open again to visitors in late November. Dogs under voice control are still allowed to be off-leash here, but those privileges soon may be reduced, restricted or eliminated under terms of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s new dog management plan. Rules, if adopted, wouldn’t go into effect until 2015, so enjoy it while you can. more »
Dogs playing on beach
When it comes to blue-ribbon beaches, gives top honors to strands where dogs under voice control can legally romp leash-free. There aren’t many in Northern California, but these three will definitely set your pup’s tail a-waggin’.    more »
Cavallo Point
Cavallo Point

For 75 years, the Golden Gate Bridge has been the symbol of San Francisco — and one that never grows less beautiful with the passing of time. It's no longer legal to walk over the bridge with a dog, but there are many trails-with-a-view from which to admire it in the city and in adjacent Marin County.  more »

Dog bliss, Rodeo BeachThe first time we poked around the Marin Headlands with our pup, we were playing tourist, popping out of the car here and there to snap photos of a fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t know where the maze of roads we were exploring might take us, but when we saw people walking dogs over a bridge at Rodeo Lagoon, we leashed up for a look-see.  more »
Dog in front of Golden Gate Bridge
Many San Francisco residents consider September and October to be the best times of year to enjoy outdoor pursuits and Golden Gate views. With wind and fog at a minimum, it’s also the best time of year to walk across the iconic bridge—an activity that, alas, no longer is legal to enjoy with dogs. But that doesn’t mean that you and your four-legged companion can’t get an eyeful of the city’s most enduring symbol. If you’re visiting the city with four-legged family members, or are hosting someone who is, here are four good Golden Gate Bridge vantage points: more »
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