Secret Cave and Trail at Land's End: Not Cliff House Cave : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I would like to know if anyone ever took or knows about the old trail that ran through the 100 foot long cave at Land's End. I am not talking about the cave below the Cliff House. I am talking about the old trail and cave about a mile northwest of the Cliff House.

Apparently, the trail and cave were made in the 1920s by the Army Corps of Engineers but I have no confirmation of that or for what purpose it was built. The trail went along the cliff side 50 feet above the ocean all the way to China Beach. This is not the main trail that everyone takes today. Over the years, the trail eroded away but it was still possible to take the trail through the cave in the 1970s.

In the 1980s when the government took control of it, the park rangers didn't like it and instead of fixing it up, which everyone would have loved, they decided as usual that they knew what was best for everyone and destroyed the trail and made the cave completely inacessible unless you could climb up ragged rocks at minus tide which some people still do.

Last I heard, the cave still exists though it is difficult to access. I would love to know more about this trail and cave and see photos of it if anyone has some.

-- Harry Murphy (, February 27, 2003


I played in the cave and the adjacent beach at the east end of the cave many times as a teen-ager in 1943/1944, getting there by City bus or my 1934 Ford from my Sunset district home. Last spring I attempted to relive those days by visiting the site. But I was confronted with the same problem as Mr. Murphy: I couldn't find the trail, which I believe started just below the 17th fairway at Lincoln Park. But that area is covered with thick growth. There is a usable, steep trail a little further west which leads to a beach which I believe may be bounded by the cliff which is the site of the western end of the cave. I took a picture from the towering cliff trail which shows what might be a cave opening. It being late in the day, I did not proceed on the trail. In any event, I think the steepness of the cliff would preclude accessing that end of the cave.

The memory is clouded by 60 years of Bay fogs, but I clearly recall jogging on the beach, dipping in the ocean, climbing to the cave, and watching Liberty ships and other war vessels sailing by.

This spring - I must go down to the sea again!

-- Charles Grant (, February 28, 2003.

Thank you Charles for your interesting description. Much changes and erosion have taken place since you were there in the 40s. I'd love to hear from anyone who was actually there when they built the trail and cave in the 20s.

I want to make one important correction and that is that the old trail and cave is about a mile northeast of the Cliff House not northwest as I erroneously said.

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy*, March 01, 2003.

Lets find that Cave!

-- Michael Vishniakoff (, April 06, 2003.

I think my friends and I stumbled upon this cave when we were exploring around Land's End yesterday. Is it a narrow cave, about 100 feet long? The cave is at about sea level, accessible from the beach, right? At the entrance of the cave it looks like there are some rocks that have been mortared in place, and there are a few square white rocks surrounding the entrance where this entrance has fallen apart. the rocks look out of place. is this the cave you are talking about? it was VERY hard to get to.

-- a (, May 03, 2004.

No, the cave is not at sea level. It is about 20 to 30 feet above sea level. It is only accessible from the beach at very low minus tide. At one end the cave itself is accessible if you can climb up a vertical wall. At another part in the middle section of it, you might be able to hike up a steep slippery incline and crawl through an opening. There may also be a third way to get there from underneath if you can somehow crawl straight up between rocks that lead to the cave. These are good rock climber's challenges with the cave as your reward.

Although your description wasn't quite perfect, this may be the cave. If you could have been brave enough to hike up the slippery slope section in the middle section then you might have been able to get inside.

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy*, May 06, 2004.

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