Golden Gate Park is home to two bridges that both date back to 1893 – the Roman Bridge and Rustic Bridge. Both bridges were completed just in time for the opening of the Midwinter Fair in 1894, and allowed visitors to gain easy, scenic access back and forth to Strawberry Hill and Stow Lake.

Bridge History

Rustic Bridge is also known as Boulder Bridge or Rocky Bridge because of its stony appearance. When part of the construction of Stow Lake took place during the 1890s, large boulders of the local chert (a tough sedimentary rock that when broken can form rather sharp edges) were transformed into this rustic-looking structure with the double arches.

The Rustic Bridge crosses Stow Lake on the southwest side of the island. The Roman Bridge connects Strawberry Hill to the Stow Lake perimeter, and is much plainer visually than its counterpart.

Things to Do

The Rustic and Roman Bridge allow pedestrians to walk from the outer shore of Stow Lake to reach the hidden treasures of Strawberry Hill island, including Huntington Falls. Rustic Bridge is large enough to let boats travel underneath – an act that has been happening for more than a century. Visitors to the park enjoy the natural surroundings of the bridge, as the combination of trees and rays of sunlight provide a comforting backdrop.

Picnic areas are close by, so don’t be afraid to pack a light lunch for a romantic rendezvous. Hikers often take pleasure in seeking out the panoramic views afforded to those that venture to the highest point in the park at Strawberry Hill. Peer over the bridges during a relaxing stroll and gaze into the water to catch a peaceful reflection staring back at you – make a wish.

Also, don’t forget to bring your camera along, as the wildlife is in abundance throughout this part of the park. Ducks and herons frequently provide amusement for nature lovers. The Rustic Bridge is also an ideal location to take a snapshot of yourself in the park.