The Golden Gate Bridge (Highway 101 North) links San Francisco with Marin County. Before its completion in 1937, the bridge was considered unbuildable because of foggy weather, 60-mile-per-hour winds and strong ocean currents sweeping through a deep rugged canyon below.
At a cost of $35 million, the 1.2-mile bridge took more then four years to build. Eleven men lost their lives during construction.
Often shrouded in thick fog, the bridge sways 27 feet to withstand winds of up to 100 miles per hour. The color of the bridge, known as International Orange, was chosen because it blends well with the bridge’s natural surroundings. The two great cables contain enough strands of steel wire (80,000 miles)to encircle the equator three times. The concrete poured into its piers and anchorages would pave a five-foot wide sidewalk from New York to San Francisco.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are allowed across the bridge on pathways with sweeping views of the City, Alcatraz,and Marin Headlands. The bridge toll for vehicles is $6.00 collected electronically at the toll plaza when entering San Francisco (no cash payment) Electronic options include Fast Track and pay-by-plate (toll invoice). A toll invoice is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Vantage points from the San Francisco side include the Tool Plaza and Visitors Center (before crossing the bridge), and at Fort Point (under the bridge). The first exit on the Marin side of the bridge, Vista Point, provides outstanding views of the San Francisco skyline.
The best way to see the bridge is to walk across it which takes about an hour round trip. When walking the bridge dress warmly whatever time of year. Free parking is available on the north side at Vista Point, paid parking is available on the south side at the Visitor Center near the toll booths.
A postcard-perfect panorama can also be seen from the Marin Headlands (the last exit in Marin County). For more information go online: www.baycityguide.com/golden_gate_bridge