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The Mormon Temple and the Berkeley Pier

In the S.F. Bay Area, we are lucky enough to live in one of the most spectacular areas in the world when considering the mix of both natural and man-made sights. The Golden Gate Bridge and the contrasting beauty of the Marin Headlands and the Pacific Ocean; Coit tower, the many houses that appear to dangle from cliffs, and the steep climbs up Telegraph Hill; and views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline from places such as the Mormon Temple or the Berkeley Pier. There are also many great and hidden beaches along the Pacific Coast with views of lighthouses, rocky jagged cliffs, and tide pools willing to share the elusive intertidal invertebrates that live there.

This series of articles attempts to highlight, both in word and through photos, the many different half-day trips that can be made in the area that provide good views of the sights that surround us. This series of trips will be updated as often as possible and it would be great if you could add any comments, additions, or pictures in the space provided at the bottom of each page. If you don’t have the time to put them online, you could send me your notes and/or photos and I will present them in a way that will allow you to share them with anyone, anywhere.

Destination One: Mormon Temple in Oakland

On an unusually clear morning in the Bay Area, I decided to find a couple of areas that would provide nice views for photography. Growing-up in the area, I remember my aunt and uncle regularly pointing out the Mormon Temple and saying that it was one of the most visible sights around the Bay Area and consequently, also provided a great place to take pictures of the surrounding area. On the clear, sunny Sunday morning that I went to the Temple, the view did not disappoint. Looking south, I had a great view of the South Bay and the Oakland Airport. Looking north, I could see Mt. Tamalpais, the Richmond San Mateo Bridge, and the dark brown petroleum storage tanks at the refineries up in Richmond. Of course, the best view was directly west and included downtown San Francisco, twin peaks and Sutro tower, and the new eastern span of the SF-Bay Bridge which sits next to the soon to be destroyed older structure. The Temple itself is spectacular architecturally, and the gardens that surround it are also worth seeing. There is a guard station at the entrance, but on a Sunday morning, I was able to drive right in and spend 30 minutes or so exploring the grounds. The Temple was finished in 1964 and its tallest point stands 170 feet tall. More information: Wikipedia

Destination Two: The Berkeley Pier

The Pier, the 2nd longest in the State, was the next stop for a walk 3,000 feet out into the Bay for photos of the S.F. skyline, the Golden Gate, and the Berkeley and Oakland hills. Although I expected more people to be there, I saw less than 10 people fishing and only about 8 other people walking out to the end. The pier used to extend 3.5 miles out into the Bay, but now ends at 3,000 feet with a wooden gate at the end. The old structure can be seen through the gate and it looks as if it could reach all the way to Alcatraz. There is a bathroom on the Pier and many small, enclosed benches that provide some shelter from the winds, although on the morning I was there, there was just a light breeze. The shelters also had some interesting and colorful graffiti that contrasted nicely with the bay and skyline. More information: Wikipedia

The entire round trip took less than 4 hours, and I was able to get several nice photos of the Bay Area. Up next in this ½ day series will be the Hornet aircraft carrier in Alameda and views of the Port of Oakland from the old Alameda Naval Air Station.

Please feel free to add any comments, information, or photos of your own on this page. As always, you can send them to me if you don’t have the time and I can get your experiences online for all to see. Contact me at

By Michael Morris

Half-Day Trips Around the S.F. Bay Area that Provide Good Views for Photography - Trip 1

View of Oakland, Hayward, and the Oakland Airport (OAK) as seen from the Oakland hills.

Oakland, Alameda, and the Oakland Airport
The Alameda-Oakland Estuary and the Bay surround the Oakland International Airport. Click on any of the images for a high-resolution version.

View of part of the Berkeley Pier with Richmond in the background.

The view west
Oakland in the foreground, San Francisco on the left and the Golden Gate Bridge on the right.

The closed, old section of the Berkeley Pier.

One of the Temple's fountains
Note the "rise" of the cement on the left part of the fountain. The Temple sits almost directly on top of one of the Bay Area's most active faults - the Hayward Fault.

A view of the SF-Bay Bridge from the Berkeley Pier showing construction of the new eastern span.

One of the small alcoves that line each side of the Pier
The new and old sections of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge are at the left of the photo.

A view of the Berkeley hills and the Berkeley Pier as seen from the end of the Pier. A view of Mt. Tamalpais and the SF Bay from the Berkeley Pier. The Berkeley Pier as seen from the parking area with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. View of Oakland and San Francisco as seen from the Oakland Hills. View of the Mormon Temple in Oakland and one of its fountains. Blossoms and Palm trees in the foreground with the Mormon Temple in the background. View of the Mormon Temple and one of its magnificent gardens. The end of the maintained section of the Berkeley Pier.

The front of the Temple
The gardens that surround the Temple are beautiful and very well maintained.

The Berkeley Pier
Richmond, with its oil storage tanks, is on the left and the Pier's bathrooms are on the right.

Spring in the Oakland Hills

The Berkeley hills from the end of the Pier.

Another alcove along the Pier
Mt. Tamalpais (over in Marin County) is on the left.

A view of the Pier from the parking area
The old section can be seen on the left along with Alcatraz.

The old section of the Pier
No longer maintained, hundreds of birds have made themselves at home. At one time, the Pier extended 3.5 miles out into the Bay. It almost looks like it might make it all the way to Alcatraz.

End of the maintained portion of the Pier
A view through the gate shows the view in the photo to the left.

Click on any image for a 1600 x 1067 version


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