Lands End Labyrinth

San Francisco, California (CA)

Lands End Labyrinth: what was once a maze perched at the edge of the continent has been transformed into a heart that reflects the people of San Francisco and their devotion to the former landmark.

Lands End Labyrinth 4
- Vinay Patil

Lands End Labyrinth: As it was

“A winding path built in secret on the edge of the continent.”

Atlas Obscura.

For 17 years, positioned spectacularly on a small plateau along the rugged coastline of San Francisco, the Lands End Labyrinth existed as a mystical hidden gem. Crafted with stones from the nearby beach, by local artist Eduardo Aguilera and lovingly maintained by volunteers, the captivating marvel was a place of peace and timeless beauty. Many came to experience the 35 ft labyrinth, attracted by its retreat-like nature; the gentle sounds of the waves breaking below, views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, and the stillness of the stones enveloping visitors in a safe embrace. That was until it all came to an end with the dismantling of the maze and the unravelling of the spirit of the people who so admired it.

The classic seven-circuit Chartres labyrinth appeared at Eagle's Point in 2004. It was always intended as a secret place, but it wasn’t long before it was discovered. Since then Lands End Labyrinth has been the recipient of continued, merciless vandalism with people scattering or simply removing the stones altogether. Each time it was destroyed the informal caretaker since 2008, Colleen Yerge rebuilt the maze until one day in 2021, she just didn’t.

Lands End Labyrinth 3
- Sam Grall

Lands End Labyrinth: Enveloped by Nature's Splendour

One of the most enchanting aspects of the Lands End Labyrinth was its stunning location. Perched on the edge of the continent, the labyrinth offered panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the dramatic Marin Headlands. Surrounded by towering cypress trees, the labyrinth was a tranquil oasis where people could go to embrace the harmony between the natural world and their inner being.

Lands End Labyrinth 2
- Sam Grall

Lands End Labyrinth: Origin Story

The Lands End Labyrinth — one of San Francisco’s unofficial landmarks — emerged from Aguilera’s desire to create a sacred space for introspection and contemplation. Inspired by ancient labyrinths, the local artist envisioned a place where individuals could find solace, reconnect with nature, and seek inner harmony.

In Greek mythology, a labyrinth was a maze-like structure used to imprison the Minotaur, a creature who was half man half bull, or other malevolent spirits. But they have also featured in ancient cave art, Mediterranean architecture, and even Christian cathedrals. Over thousands of years, they have become a place where one can go to quiet their minds and experience inner peace.

Before creating his own design Aguilera spent a lot of time along the rocky shores of Lands End; lighting candles and creating small shrines to ‘peace, love, and enlightenment’. Over time, the labyrinth became a beloved community project, with artists and volunteers contributing their time and efforts to maintain it. Furthermore, countless ‘thank you’ notes, love messages, pictures of lost loved ones, and money were found at its core, attesting to its popularity.

Vandalising the Labyrinth at Lands End

As of yet there has been no insight as to who is repeatedly dissembling the estimated 300 rock labyrinth. As the landmark wasn’t officially recognised by the National Park Service, the act of destruction wasn’t technically considered a crime. But Yerge believes the vandals to have an agenda and possibly belong to a conservation group, wishing to return the site to its natural state.

Most notably Lands End Labyrinth was destroyed in 2011 and 2015 but its most recent upending was the third occurrence that year.

“Normally when it’s destroyed, only a quarter of the rocks are removed… This time they removed every single rock.”

Colleen Yerge

Yerge reconstructed the labyrinth in January and April 2021 but the final dismantling at the end of the year led the caretaker to determine that it probably would be removed again as soon as she lovingly rebuilt it. Prior to this, each time the rocks were flung into the sea, Yerge would be joined by dedicated volunteers as she rebuilt. Without the community support the effort would take her around 24 hours due to the long walk from the beach to the labyrinth’s location.

For other secret San Francisco beaches, check out our article on Marshall Beach.

Preserving the Labyrinth's Legacy: What happens now?

On New Year’s Day a couple who ventured to Lands End to marvel at the labyrinth were horrified to discover the empty space that lay in its place. Christian Tabing-Dalit and Thomas Lew decided to take it upon themselves to form their own rocky feature in its place.

“It represents our appreciation and love for our friends, our family, our neighbours, our city, and we thought it was fitting with the environment of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background,”

Christian Tabing-Dalit.

On January 13th the couple, ladened with empty backpacks to haul the rocks collected from Mile Rock Beach below, made their mark on Lands End. Following in the footsteps of Yerge and the volunteers who made the trip all those times before, Lew and Tabing-Dalit soon realised the great effort that came from lugging the stones up to the plateau. And that there was no way their mission would be complete by sunset. But unperturbed they carried on until their work was finished, and a beautiful heart-shaped formation lay on the site of the former labyrinth.

“The shape is also for protection. Who wants to dismantle a heart? They’d literally be breaking our heart.”

Thomas Lew.

When checking in on their handiwork, via Instagram hashtags, they were delighted but surprised to find that the heart was already the backdrop for several marriage proposals – what a wonderful example of love triumphing over hate.

Exploring Lands End and Eagle Point

Hiking Trails

There are numerous hiking trails in Lands End and although the labyrinth no longer exists, people still venture out to Eagle Point for peace and quiet – plus, you never know when the labyrinth may magically reappear! The Coastal Trail, a section of the California Coastal Trail that follows the railbed of the old Cliff House Railway, is the most popular hiking trail in Lands End.

Eventually, the wide coastal trail turns rather narrow and after a couple of left turns, you will come to Eagle Point. Aside from the magnificent views of San Francisco, I wonder what you will discover. Afterwards, if you’re not too tired from your trek, why not venture down to Mile Rock Beach, a local hotspot and perfect picnic place.

Lands End Lookout

A Visitor Centre was opened at Lands End on April 28th, 2012. It has a gift shop, restrooms, and numerous historical displays. There is also a cafe, which is perfect for grabbing a hot cup of coffee to warm those frost-bitten fingers, on a cold day’s hike.

For a different, although still breathtaking view of San Francisco, why not try your hand (or rather your feet!) at the Lyon Street Steps?

Lands End Labyrinth
- Sam Grall

Our Thoughts…

The Lands End Labyrinth was a sanctuary for many seeking solace, healing, and personal introspection. Visitors from all walks of life ventured to the Labyrinth to meditate, reflect, or simply revel in the transformative magic of the formation. In recent years, the Labyrinth and now the heart, has served as a venue for special events, including weddings, engagements, and communal spiritual gatherings, fostering a sense of community and connection among those who frequent this sacred space. Whether you're a local resident or a traveller passing through, make sure to carve out a moment to immerse yourself in the mystical charm of whatever may be lying out at Eagle Point.

Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our US Scavenger Hunts- untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of San Francisco and beyond!

Lands End Labyrinth Questions


What you need to know

Lands End Labyrinth
Lands End, San Francisco, CA 94121
37.787979, -122.505798
Tips before you visit

When visiting Lands End Labyrinth be sure to pack a picnic and take a pit stop to enjoy it down at Mile Rock Beach.

Also be aware that it is considerably windy out at Eagle’s Point so floppy hats — or anything with a brim that’ll catch in the breeze — should be left at home if you don’t want to witness them take flight out into the Pacific! You may also wish to bring a jacket as that wind can be quite cutting too.