At the easily accessible Candlestick Point SRA, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, the East Bay Hills, San... more » Bruno Mountain, and downtown San Francisco.
This walk highlights and tours about 2/3 of the park and can easily be done in a couple of hours. The entire trip is kid-friendly and on a combination of both paved and well graded dirt path. Along the parking areas are a number of access points.
There are several unique features to this park.
For one, it's very easy to get to. It's also an experiment in urban recovery. The park is generally on contoured landfill, mounds and vegetation seem designed to provide a wide variety of scenic vignettes, and it's an interesting fusion of grasslands, wetlands, beach, lawns, and fishing piers, with just a smattering of remnant industrial remains. The landscape makes it easy to forget you’re in a former industrial zone yet in the background there's Candlestick Park and Hunters Point Shipyard, making for an interesting contrast.
Bring along some snacks and pack something warm and wind-resistant, just in case.
The park offers a retreat from metropolitan congestion and the opportunity to relax in peaceful scenery. The location on the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay provides a variety of recreational opportunities that include windsurfing, fishing, bird watching, biking, roller-blading, walking, and picnicking. Individual and group picnic sites, as well as fishing piers and other outdoor activities not easily available in the city offer a get-away of open space.
Candlestick Point SRA was the first state park in California developed to bring state park values into the urban setting. Several stories are told of where the point got its name.
The earliest reference dates from the Spanish DeAnza expedition in 1781 noting a candlestick shaped rock pinnacle on the point. The point was also referenced in a U.S. Geodetic Survey in 1869. The rock disappeared around 1920.
The more romantic story is that the area was used to burn old and abandoned ships during the early settlers’ days. When the wooden ships were burned off the point, the last part sinking into the water resembled a candlestick.
Another story is that the point was a local hunting ground named after the candlestick bird, the
chicken-sized long-billed Curlew known for its delicious meat that was nearly hunted to extinction by the 1950s.
During World War II, Candlestick Point was expanded by 170 acres of fill into the San Francisco Bay to build a shipyard for the Pacific War effort. After the war, the landfill remained and became both a local sewer and garbage dump. Shortly after, the football stadium was built in an effort to halt the blight and move the New York Giants to San Francisco.
On the bay side of the stadium grounds, the abandoned fill sat without purpose but in 1977, the California Legislature voted to develop the land as a state park -- the first urban state recreation area. less «