Very dissatisfied with the public transportation choices to get to and from this park. I take the L-Taraval Metro whose final stop is the SF Zoo (Sloat Blvd. at Great Highway), then head south atop the bluff for maybe a half mile (?) until I reach the distant dune's north edge.
One bus speeds alongside the two large parks (Fort Funston and vast Lake Merced across the highway) for further than it should before I can find a bus stop, so I end up walking a long way. This time decided to just hoof it back to the Metro stop when returning and to stay above the highway as much as possible.
So as soon as I could, slogged up a thick-sand trail. At the end of it, ducked under a fence (sixth pic) to come out at a main trail. Saw nothing particularly dangerous about this; seemed safer up here to me than to walk alongside the highway.
Continued south on the "Horse Trail" all the way to the foot of the first stairway. At the top of these eastside steps is a water fountain and doggy dishes as this is a hugely popular dogwalking area with lots of happy off-leash pooches.
The second stairway, the "other" Sand Ladder, starts down a short distance to the south from the hang-gliding deck. No trailmarker, but for a few yards leading to the edge of the cliff are some lime-green caution cones with GGNRA in black letters. Follow 'em.
This stairway could use more steps at the top. There's a steepish woodchip-covered trail for a few yards before the steps begin (pix 7 and 8), then somewhere between 143 and 149 uneven log steps (pix 9 and 10). I get different counts for both stairways each time I visit. Near the foot was a pile of logs: for stairway extension, stair repair, or added fenceposts along the trail? (11th pic). The stairs don't descend all the way to Ocean Beach; a sandy trail will take you the rest of the way.
Started back to the Metro stop (46th & Wawona) on a different trail but looping around to the same route taken coming up (last two).
Too many wide two-way streets out here: John Muir, Skyline, Great Highway -- streets walkers need to be careful crossing -- yet these are near major recreational areas. A few skyways would be much appreciated. Needed to cross Great Highway at Sloat but saw no "Walk" light. Cars were turning every which way. Made it warily to the first "island," then though I kept pushing one of those pedestrian-cross buttons, nothing happened. Finally had to chance it and dart across so as not to be standing there for the rest of the week.