increase font use small font sizeuse medium font sizeuse large font size

Embarcadero North

On any sunny day, scores of walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and skateboarders are likely to be streaming along Herb Caen Way, the wide bayside promenade that runs for three miles along San Francisco's Embarcadero from South Beach Harbor to Fisherman's Wharf. The northern portion of the promenade described here (see Embarcadero South for the southern stretch) runs from the...
On any sunny day, scores of walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and skateboarders are likely to be streaming along Herb Caen Way, the wide bayside promenade that runs for three miles along San Francisco's Embarcadero from South Beach Harbor to Fisherman's Wharf. The northern portion of the promenade described here (see Embarcadero South for the southern stretch) runs from the Ferry Building, the city's historic water transport hub and now a mecca for fresh, organic local foods, to Fisherman's Wharf; we have extended the tour to include nearby Aquatic Park and Ghirardelli Square.

Visitor center: The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park visitor center, tucked away inside the Argonaut Hotel at Jefferson and Hyde streets, is a treasure trove for anyone interested in San Francisco's maritime history. Among the displays are a tule reed canoe similar to those used by the native Yelamu people and a Fresnel lens once used at the lighthouse on one of the Farallon Islands, 30 miles outside the Golden Gate. You can take a simulated walk along the waterfront through the ages, and a computer kiosk provides a virtual tour of the inaccessible places in the park, including inside the antique boats moored at the Hyde Street Pier across the street.

Trail/Pathway Details

Ferry Building to Aquatic Park

Trailhead: Southeastern end: The Ferry Building is on the Embarcadero at the foot of Market St. Northeastern end: Aquatic Park is between Hyde St. and Van Ness Ave. and Beach and Jefferson Sts.

Length: Over 4 total miles

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Level

Ramped walkways make the climb through Aquatic Park moderate, but the Larkin Street entrance to Ghirardelli Square is on a very steep hill.

Terrain: Hard

Description

Start your trip at the Ferry Building (described in the Embarcadero South[LINK] hike), where you can stock up on provisions at one of the many shops and restaurants—or, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, at the farmers market. Then head north to the office of the Port of San Francisco in Pier 1, where you will find a display...
view full description

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Parking in downtown San Francisco can be expensive and difficult to find; the Ferry Building is well served by public transportation, including Muni, BART, and several ferry lines. Metered street parking is available along the Embarcadero and there are numerous fee lots near Fisherman's Wharf, all of which have accessible spaces. At San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park visitor center, Hyde St. Pier, and the Ferry Building (on busy days, and especially during farmers markets, there can be long lines to use the Ferry Building's restrooms).

Along the route, accessible public restrooms are inside the Port office at Pier 1, in the arcade at Pier 3, at Alcatraz Landing between Piers 31 and 33, at Pier 39, in the octagon building inside the parking lot on Taylor St., and at Ghirardelli Square. The restrooms at the Maritime Museum at Aquatic Park are fairly accessible except the main entry is narrow and the toilets are low. There are also several accessible unisex toilets in green and gold kiosks along the route, but they're often occupied or dirty.

Other Things of Interest

From June through November, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers a ranger-led interpretive sailing program (fee) aboard the historic scow schooner Alma, which is wheelchair-accessible with some assistance. The tours, which depart from Hyde Street Pier, are about three hours long.

If you don't feel like wheeling all the way from the Ferry Building, you can take a historic streetcar along Muni's F line to Fisherman's Wharf, with accessible stops along the way, though in summer the F line can be very crowded. You can also rent an electric GoCar with hand-operated controls near Fisherman's Wharf to tour the waterfront.
Transamerica Pyramid from Pier 7
Transamerica Pyramid from Pier 7 (Eileen Ecklund)

Have a photo to add? Login to upload

Features icon key

  • bicycling
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • particularly good for families
  • wildlife viewing

Additional Information

View Map  
Nearest City: San Francisco
Hours: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park visitor center and Hyde Street Pier: Daily, 9:30 am-5:30 pm (June, July, August) and 9:30 am-5 pm (September-May); last entry to Hyde Street Pier is half an hour before closing. Both facilities are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Maritime Museum: Daily, 10 am-4 pm.
Fees: Entry to the historic vessels on Hyde Street Pier
Dogs: On leash
Public Transportation: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, BART
Reviewed by Eileen Ecklund, March 18, 2013
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

close
Accessible Wheelchair Icon looks like a wheelchair with balloon wheelsBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing
close