There are several options for touring the Barbary Coast Trail®.

Guided Tours

Guided tours are led by SFMHS volunteers. They are free for current SFMHS members, $15 for non-members. Reservations are required; please call (415) 537-1105 ext 0, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The upcoming schedule appears below.

The full 3.7-mile trail is divided into four approximately equal segments, as follows:

Part 1Silver Strikes, Earthquakes and Lion Dancers - Market Street, Union Square, and Chinatown

From devastation to dynamic rebirth, this tour showcases San Francisco’s “rising” after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. You will learn about Union Square, which evolved from a remote sand dune to the commercial center of San Francisco; stroll down Maiden Lane; and explore the narrow streets and alleyways of the oldest Chinatown in the United States.

Part 2Gold Rushers, Shanghaiiers and Jazz Dancers - Portsmouth Square, Jackson Square, and the Barbary Coast

From the birthplace of the Gold Rush and the village of Yerba Buena, walk Commercial Street to the original shoreline, the Pony Express headquarters site, the grave of a Gold Rush–era ship, and the Jackson Square historic district where Gold Rush and Barbary Coast–era buildings remain. Finally, visit the notorious Barbary Coast, home to shanghaiers, vigilantes, and “Terrific” Street.

Part 3Hipsters, Paesani and Semaphore Hill - North Beach, Washington Square, and Telegraph Hill

Explore the artistic and cultural traditions of North Beach, from Italian immigrants to free-spirited Beats. Visit Washington Square in the heart of North Beach and Coit Tower, where historic Depression-era murals picture San Francisco’s tumultuous past.

Note: This portion of the tour includes steep hills and stairways. Attendees who have difficulty with hills or stairs will end their tour at Washington Square.

Part 4Stevedores, Feluccas and Windjammers - Northern Waterfront, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Aquatic Park

Explore San Francisco’s past as a port city and cover the waterfront from the days of sail to the era of the longshoreman. Follow the Great Seawall, San Francisco’s largest public works project, to Fisherman’s Wharf, past two WWII vessels and the Hyde Street Pier, boasting the largest collection of historic ships in the United States. The tour ends at the Streamline Moderne Aquatic Park bathhouse, home to the San Francisco Maritime Museum.


Upcoming Guided Tour Schedule

Guided tours are scheduled as follows:

Spring 2017
  • Saturday, April 8, 10:00am - Part 1
  • Saturday, April 15, 10:00am - Part 2
  • Saturday, April 22, 10:00am - Part 3
  • Saturday, April 29, 10:00am - Part 4
  • Saturday, May 6, 10:00am - Part 1
  • Saturday, May 13, 10:00am - Part 2
  • Saturday, May 20, 10:00am - Part 3
  • Saturday, May 27, 10:00am - Part 4
  • Saturday, June 3, 10:00am - Part 1
  • Saturday, June 10, 10:00am - Part 2
  • Saturday, June 17, 10:00am - Part 3
  • Saturday, June 24, 10:00am - Part 4

Self-Guided Tours

The Barbary Coast Trail® can also be a self-guided walking tour, using the printable map or a trail guide.

Cancellation Policy for Walking Tours

We understand that your plans may change after you've made arrangements to attend a walking tour. So that we may update our arrangements accordingly, we ask that you let us know about cancellations at least five (5) business days in advance. In such cases, we will issue a refund for the full amount you paid. Cancellations received with fewer than five business days' notice will receive a credit toward a future SFMHS tour, to be used within six months. If you do not cancel and do not show up for a tour, or if you leave a tour early, you will not receive a refund. If SFMHS cancels a tour due to weather or any other reason, you will have the option of a full refund or credit for a future tour.