Bonita Point / Sausalito, CA 


This is not a major tourism destination, as it is not on the standard list of things to do & see in the San Francisco area. The Bonita Point Lighthouse is on the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge and west of the 101 Interstate. This area was for a long time, an Army Artillery Post and you can still see the concrete block houses where the guns were positioned. The Army considered the artillery to be the "coastal defense" for San Francisco, as the weapons were intended to guard the western entrance to the Bay from the Pacific Ocean. During the Cold War era (1954), this area contained a Nike Missile Complex and then years later the entire area was turned over to California and became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


Fort Baker Area

Fort Baker provides you with the opportunity to get very close to the northern base of the Golden Gate Bridge, and as can be seen, they were installing "suicide nets" on the bridge to prevent "bridge jumpers". Once we had completed our picture taking at Fort Baker, we drove back up the hill and crossed through to the Bonita Point Lighthouse side via the long single lane tunnel that connects the two areas.

NOTE: Be prepared to wait at the tunnel, it is a single lane and it is "time controlled" to allow cars from one side to proceed and even though there may be no cars waiting, the time has to expire before you are allowed to proceed.

NOTE: Image # 3 is the property of the National Park Service.

Bonita Point Lighthouse Area

Once we were allowed to drive through the single lane tunnel (traffic is allowed to move through in time intervals), we drove to the Bonita Point Trailhead, and began our exploration.

In image # 3 you can see how the fog is trying to obscure one of the barracks buildings. This type of building is where the Army Gun Crews lived while they were maintaining all of the guns. For you image "purists" out there, yes the building was a light green color and we have no idea why?

In image # 5 you can see that the final tunnel leading to the lighthouse is closed for repairs, as there was no other way to reach the lighthouse, that ended our hike.

In image # 6 you can see one of the original artillery gun emplacements. The guns have long since been removed, but they were mounted in those concrete block houses with a "pop-up carriage". This allowed the guns to popup, fire a shot, and then lower down again such that they were less likely to be hit by return fire. The concrete block houses are very strong and well built, so the Army just let them remain instead of destroying them. A volunteer veteran group (the "Fort Baker Retreat Group") helped restore them.

For you Military History enthusiasts out there, the artillery were 12 inch rifled guns utilizing Barbette Mounts and a barrel length of 436 inches. The concrete structures were two story, with powder and shells being kept below the gun level in their own rooms. The gun & carriage structure weighed approximately 120,000 pounds. These were big guns, and as just a comparison, Navy older Battleships such as the USS Arizona carried 14 inch guns - only slightly bigger than these Fort Baker guns.

Now if that last tunnel had not been locked, and we could have proceeded out to the lighthouse - this is what we would have seen. There has been a lighthouse in this location since 1855, and it was only after we researched why that final tunnel was locked that we found out that the Park Service only allows access to the lighthouse two days a week. Click here to go to the Wikipedia Page where you can find the full story about this lighthouse.
NOTE: This image is the property of Joshmt via Wikipedia Commons.

Sausalito Area

From Fort Baker it is an easy & short drive into Sausalito, where our intention was to have lunch and see some of this picturesque little town. We discovered the Venice Gourmet Delicatessen & Pizzeria with sidewalk seating - right in front of the waterfront. The food was excellent, service was prompt and efficient and the views were the icing on the cake!

As you can see in images 1 & 2, the fog was not present in Sausalito but was still very much lying over San Francisco. San Francisco is only 4 miles across the bay from Sausalito, but the weather for us that day was bright & clear. If you look at image # 2 which was taken looking south from the Venice Gourmet Deli, you can see that San Francisco is still covered by heavy fog.

The San Francisco / Sausalito Ferry is still operated and in our image # 6, the Sausalito Ferry Terminal is immediately behind the building you can see in that picture.

 Camera Equipment Utilized 
 
Nikon P-950
 
GoPro 9
 
  • California Road Trip Overview Page: This page will give you a view of the entire trip, including maps and other information regarding each of our destinations; click here to read more.
  • San Francisco: our arrival airport as well as our first adventure in California - we explored it via walking, cable car as well as uBer. Click here to view our San Francisco page.
  • Bonita Point & Sausalito: We visited this area as we drove north from San Francisco to wine country. Click here to view our Bonita Point & Sausalito page.
  • Santa Rosa / Sonoma County: This is the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, and we explored this area with enthusiasm. Click here to view our Santa Rosa / Sonoma County page.
  • Muir Woods National Monument: One of the few Coast Redwood Forests remaining, the trees are stunning. After hiking about, we headed north through Muir Beach & Stinson Beach. Click here to view our Muir Woods National Monument page.
  • Rush Creek Lodge & Spa: . A beautiful place to stay, right on California Route 120 at the western edge of Yosemite National Park. Click here to view our Rush Creek Lodge & Spa page.
  • Yosemite National Park: A large and beautiful park, with amazing geography. Click here to view our Yosemite National Park page.
  • Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno, CA: We discovered this interesting place as we were searching for a good lunch spot in Fresno. The way it was built, and how the builder created such a fascinating home was well worth the time we spent there. Click here to view our Forestiere Underground Gardens page.
  • Santa Monica, CA: The fires in Sequoia National Park forced us to revise our trip route plans, so we added an overnight stay in Agoura Hills in order to visit Santa Monica. Click here to view our Santa Monica page.
  • Santa Barbara, CA: This was the start of our "coastal drive" through California, and this city is such a great place to start such a drive. Click here to view our Santa Barbara page.
  • Coastal Highway, CA: Even though we were looking forward to seeing Monterey, part of our enthusiasm was due to being able to drive north on California SR-1 highway. Click here to view our Coastal Highway page.
  • Monterey, CA: Somewhat of a "living museum" but now adjusting to life as a "tourist destination", this is a neat town that has a split personality, ie; one part bayside beach tourist town and the other part a typical California beach town where residents live. Click here to view our Monterey page.
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA: This was a day trip drive we took to Carmel-by-the-Sea as we drove south to hike at Point Lobos. Click here to view our Carmel page.

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