16 Best Hikes in San Francisco You Must Try

16 Best Hikes in San Francisco You Must Try


Many vacationers know concerning the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and flock there as quickly as they get to the town and they need to, it’s an icon of San Francisco. As somebody who has lived in the town for nearly twenty years, vacationer sights in San Francisco are good, however I wish to share a method to boost the expertise of visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay space by combining it with lesser identified however nonetheless nice climbing spots and vista factors. These are the perfect hikes in San Francisco to get you open air and supply superb views.

Best Hikes in San Francisco, California

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Hiking Trails

Most vacationers have a tendency to begin their Golden Gate Bridge stroll on the base of the bridge, flip round and stroll again. They take some footage alongside the best way and go residence. That isn’t dangerous, however to get extra train, take in higher views, and find yourself feeling extra glad by having a day filled with extra assorted experiences let’s take issues a bit additional.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area boasts miles of climbing trails, and unobstructed views and is the right approach to see a unique facet of San Francisco. It spans each the Marin and San Francisco sides of the Golden Gate Bridge and has climbing trails for each health stage. For extra data on climbing and parking go to the Golden Gate Bridge Website.

2. Lands End


The path alongside Lands End Hike isn’t too lengthy, however it’s fairly magical. The stroll provides super vistas distinctive to San Francisco. On a transparent day, the hikers can see far into the depths of the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Marin Headlands to the north, and the Golden Gate Bridge to the east.

Start off in the Outer Richmond space on the fringe of Lands End Golden Gate Area close to the Cliff House and the historic Sutro Baths and Park on the Lands End Main Parking Lot. From there, a path leads into Lands End inside the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and your journey begins.

The space known as Lands End as a result of it’s situated actually on the finish of all land to the west as its cliffs finish on the base of the Pacific Ocean. The slender path that parallels the cliffs doesn’t disappoint. It shortly leads the vacationers proper alongside the sting of the cliffs, beneath which the Pacific Ocean waves crash into the rocks.

Surprisingly, the park additionally has probably the greatest artwork museums in San Francisco. The Palace of the Legion of Honor is a good place to take a break for an hour or two and take in some Picasso and Rembrandt earlier than lastly heading off to Golden Gate Bridge. The Lands End Trail ends (no pun meant) on a avenue known as El Camino Del Mar, which has among the finest views of the ocean in the whole metropolis and is in a prestigious neighborhood. 

Viewpoints embrace the Sutro Baths, Eastern Coastal Trail Lookout, Lands End Labyrinth, Dead Man’s Point and the Golden Gate Bridge.

3. Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

Walking again from Lands End Trail, you possibly can stroll all the best way to the Golden Gate Bridge. The avenue El Camino Del Mar passes China Beach after which turns into Lincoln Boulevard which leads towards the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a highway-like avenue, however fairly quickly, smaller strolling trails grow to be out there as detours and lead in direction of the bridge through a quieter and extra scenic strolling route unhindered by automobiles.

Once on the bridge, the normal and basic expertise of strolling the bridge provides among the identical views of San Francisco Bay from a a lot completely different angle. In addition, as you get nearer to the opposite facet of the bridge, views of San Francisco downtown open up, with the enduring Transamerica constructing standing tall above the remaining.

On heat and clear days, there are a lot of little sailboats proper beneath the bridge, throughout the bay, and close to Alcatraz Island.  In addition, there are a lot of gigantic freighter ships coming into the San Francisco and Oakland ports from in all places in the world.  All the ships to those ports come by the bay and they’re fairly a deal with to see. On fortunate days, there are even navy automobiles that come into the port and I’ve personally ever seen a submarine cruising above the water about ten years in the past.

4. Batteries to Bluffs

Batteries to Bluffs Hiking Trail San Francisco

Sticking across the identical space because the Lands End hike is the Batteries to Bluffs path hike in San Francisco. Located in San Francisco’s Presidio, a 1,500-acre park on a former navy put up, the Batteries to Bluffs path hike provides views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Bay space, and the rugged shoreline. This is only a 2-mile (3.2 km) hike spherical journey, so it could simply be added to your San Francisco Itinerary.

The path begins at Lincoln blvd the place you possibly can park on the Langdon Court Parking lot. This car parking zone connects to the paths resulting in the Golden Gate Welcome Center which options the Golden Gate Overlook and the batteries used to guard the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco from 1891 to 1946. You can stroll by these historic websites with views of the Golden Gate Bridge from Presidio, Battery Boutelle, Battery Marcus and Battery Cranston.

The Golden Gate Overlook is likely one of the premier spots to {photograph} the Golden Gate Bridge so the path is busy, however for good motive. It provides the perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the town. There are plenty of wood steps alongside this hike and probably the greatest locations to for sundown is to take the steps all the way down to Marshall’s Beach.

5. Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks Hike in San Francisco

Twin Peaks is likely one of the finest San Francisco climbing trails for spectacular metropolis views. It is a closely trafficked path 3.4 mile loop path, and you’ll drive or cycle as much as the lookout. Twin Peaks is an city climbing path situated inside the metropolis limits it’s the second tallest peak in San Francisco (922-foot tall ) that overlooks the whole San Francisco Bay space, and the town’s landmarks. The hike feels far-off from the town with forest trails, eucalyptus timber, rocky outcrops, wood walkways and grime paths taking you as much as Eureka Peak and Noe Peak.

Starting in Glen Canyon Park, the Twin Peaks path climbs 1.7 miles to Eureka Peak and Noe Peak after which descend on the North Side to Christmas Tree Point for the perfect views of the Pacific and the town of San Francisco. Christmas Tree Point obtained its identify from the large Christmas tree that’s erected every year by the town. On the best way again, hop on to the Gum Tree Girls Trail for a unique perspective.

6. Mount Sutro Loop

Mount Sutro Loop in San Francisco

If you wish to proceed strolling, it’s one other 1.1 miles from Twin Peaks alongside the street to the Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve with climbing trails and greenspace overlooking the town. Or you possibly can stroll this 1.9 mile loop path (3.2 kilometer) alongside The Historic Trail from seventeenth and Stanyan. It takes you as much as the Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve which is a 61 acre open area reserve owned by the UCSF. It is a well-liked spot for locals with 5 miles of public, multi-use trails, and a 900-foot elevation achieve.

On the best way down you possibly can be part of the Fairy Gates path to the Fairy Gates Trailhead at Stanyan Street to stroll again alongside the road to the place you began.

7. Golden Gate Bridge to Marin Headlands

Hking out to the Marin Headlands in San Francisco

One of probably the most iconic issues to do in San Francisco is to stroll throughout the Golden Gate Bridge. Leaving from the Golden Gate Welcome Center a stroll throughout the bridge to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to the Marin Headlands. Most individuals discover this sufficient of a stroll, however if you wish to discover extra, There are loads of climbing trails in the Muir Woods.

8. Muir Woods

Muir Woods in San Francisco Hiking

Located simply exterior of San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument provides among the most beautiful climbing trails close to San Francisco. There are loads of completely different trails spanning throughout the 554 acres of Muir Woods. There are a number of trails in Muir Woods to select from.

Note that Parking reservations are required in advance. Parking fills up shortly and for those who don’t ebook in advance you received’t get in. Check with the National Parks Service for extra data.

This lovely space provides spectacular bay space climbing among the many old-growth coastal redwoods. Muir Woods has numerous trails, with The Muir Woods Main Trail being a well-liked beginning place that hooks up with different trails in the world.

Leaving from the Muir Woods Visitor’s Center and following Redwood Creek, this straightforward hike is finished on a boardwalk and is appropriate for all ages. It is a 2.0 mile loop path (3.2 km) with solely a 30-foot elevation achieve.

If you’re on the lookout for an extended hike be part of The Ben Johnson Trail for a 6.3km loop that can take you thru among the most attractive landscapes in the Muir Woods National Monument.

Distance: 2.0 mi (3.2 km)Elevation Gain: 30 ftTime: 2 hoursTrailhead: Muir Woods Visitor CenterGoogle Maps Directions

9. Mount Diablo State Park

Hiking Trails in Mount Diablo State Park San Francisco

If you’re up for a little bit of a drive exterior of San Francisco, you possibly can head out to Mount Diablo State Park, which is a couple of 40 minute drive east of the town. This is an ideal day journey and the views over East Bay hills are spectacular. The summit path right here ranges in size and issue and is finest suited to seasoned hikers.

For the perfect views we suggest the Donner Creek Loop path. This out-and-back path has among the most spectacular views and is extra of a reasonable path.

Start in the car parking zone on the north entrance at Regency Drive and hike alongside the Donner Creek Fire Road after which take the Back Creek Trail Back.

One of the explanations you’ll love this path is that you just really move a number of waterfalls and weave by the plains in the course of the second half of the path. If you’re on the lookout for a day of climbing, close to the San Francisco bay space ensure that to take a look at this State Park.

10. Tennessee Valley Trail, Marin Headlands

Located simply north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Tennessee Valley path is a hike that results in a sandy seaside an attractive lookout. You can select from two completely different seashores. From the Tennessee Valley trailhead, you possibly can both hike straight to Tennessee Beach for an out-and-back hike or do the tougher loop to Muir Beach through the Pirate’s Cove Trail. This hike begins from the Tennessee Valley Trailhead and is a couple of 9-mile loop.

If you select the Tennessee Valley path it winds its method by lovely coastal hills and ends on the seaside at Tennessee Cove. Here you possibly can have a picnic and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean. See extra: 24 Of The Best Beaches in California

Distance: 7.0 mi (14.6 km) through Muir Beach LoopElevation Gain: 900 ftTime: 4 hoursTrailhead: Tennessee Valley Trailhead

11. Angel Island State Park

Views of Sanfrancisco from Angel Island State Park

Surprisingly, Angel Island State Park is an typically ignored place to hike in the Bay Area, although it is just a 40min ferry journey from Pier 41 in downtown San Francisco. There are 2 predominant climbing trails in the state park. The Sunset Trail goes to the summit of Mount Livermore and is a bit more difficult than the opposite one. The payoff is the 360 diploma views of the skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and East Bay.

The different path in Angel Island State Park is the Perimeter Trail. This is a simple hike and offers you many various viewpoints in addition to locations to be taught concerning the historical past of the island itself. If you’re visiting the bay space for a number of days then Angel Island is unquestionably price a go to even when climbing is just not on the high of your listing. You can even camp on the island.

How to Get to Angel Island:

12. Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park Hikes San Francisco

Located in the East Bay Regional Park District, only a 20-minute drive from downtown San Francisco, Redwood Regional Park is finest is understood for the outdated development redwood forest that makes for the right backdrop to any hike. It is definitely the biggest remaining pure stand of coast redwood in East Bay.

Our advice is to hop on the Stream Trail, Mill Trail, and French Trail Loop. This is a path with plenty of ups and downs however the scent of the redwoods mixed with the gorgeous forest panorama make this an ideal hike particularly when it will get actually scorching.

 Start on the Skyline Gate Parking Lot and comply with the Stream Trail till you come to the place it meets the Mill Trail. Follow this for a bit till it hooks up with the French Trail and take this again to the car parking zone.

13. Mori Point, Pacifica

Mori Point Pacifica near San Francisco

Mori Point is a spectacular lookout that’s simply south of San Francisco. Situated in San Mateo County, Mori Point provides a number of completely different climbing trails which are alongside the coast. It additionally hooks up with the longer Coastal Trail. This 32 acre wetland park has among the finest views of the ocean in the Golden Gate National National Recreation space.

The 2 trails we suggest are the Old Mori Trail, which is extra of a stroll as it’s flat as a pancake. It does nevertheless deliver you out to some unimaginable views. And you possibly can head down the steps to get to the seaside for those who like. Just keep in mind, you need to come again up the 185 steps.

The different advice is the Mori Point Loop Trail. This 1.5-mile (2.4km) loop path provides some nice coastal views in addition to wildflowers and wildlife. It can get windy alongside the coast and there are some steep sections, however it’s price it in our opinion. This is an ideal place to benefit from the sundown and spot whales.

Distance: 1.5 mi (2.4 km)Elevation Gain: 1200 ftTime: half-hourTrailhead: Mori Point Parking Lot (Directions Here)

14. Tomales Point Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore

Tomales Pooint Trail near San Francisco

This hike is likely one of the classics. Not solely due to the beautiful views, however as a result of it is likely one of the quieter hikes close to San Francisco. The Tomales Point Trail is situated in Point Reyes National Seashore between Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

There is rather a lot to see throughout this hike. Duck Beach, Sand Point, Tom’s Point and views of Bird Rock simply to call a number of. What can be cool is that it’s fully in the Tule Elk Preserve, so your probabilities of seeing some elk are fairly good.

This is an out-and-back path so ensure that to present your self time to get again. One word, this path is commonly lined in fog. This doesn’t take away from the hike itself, however for those who put in the time to get to the lookout and it’s fogged in you is perhaps disenchanted. That being mentioned, the hike is price it fog or no fog.

15. Mount Tamalpais state park

best hikes in san francisco Mount tamalpais state park

At Mount Tamalpais state park, there’s a little little bit of every thing for everybody. Different trails with differing ranges of issue and size. Beginners, seasoned hikers, walkers, joggers, and bikers all have a spot at Mount Tam.

Its various panorama makes making it one of the vital standard trails in the world. Enjoy beautiful views of the rolling hills, oak forest, redwood, and scenic ocean on the paths.

The final problem is to hike all the best way as much as the mountain peak for a wide ranging view of the ocean. Most guests go for a leisurely stroll alongside the Dipsea Trail, steep ravine path loop, and Matt Davis loop.

Distance: 60 mi (96 km) out and backTime: VariesTrailhead: Pantoll Ranger Station or the East Peak Center

16. Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail

Half moon Bay State Beach in California

Also often known as the coast facet path, take pleasure in scenic trails with breathtaking views of the pacific ocean. Even although this path is on a cliff it’s most likely one of many best on this listing as the whole terrain is generally flat. The climbing path is about 6-mile roundtrip and is ideal for bikers, walkers, or hikers.

The complete path is well-maintained and really straightforward to stroll, think about it extra of a scenic strolling route. Enjoy attractive views of actual swimming in the ocean and birds floating about. The better part is the cooling breeze from the ocean that makes the hike nicely price it.

Distance: 7.5 mi (12 km) out and againElevation Gain: 213 ftTime: 1hr quarter-hourTrailhead: Miramontes Point Road

What to Pack to your San Francisco Hikes

What to Pack for Hiking in San Francisco

When it involves climbing across the San Francisco space you wish to ensure you pack a number of requirements because the climate can change shortly and also you wish to be ready for any scenario, even on the shorter hikes. Here is what we propose you pack in a day pack earlier than hitting the paths.

Water Camera or Smartphone Day Pack Hiking Jacket (Waterproof and windproof) Hiking Shoes or Running Shoes Snacks Beanie or heat hat Sunscreen Sunglasses

Hiking Trails near San Francisco

Regardless of which hike you select, getting out onto the paths is a good exercise so as to add to your San Francisco Itinerary. To say that we had been impressed with the sheer quantity of trails could be an understatement. Pair that with the coastal views and the way well-maintained the paths are and it’s straightforward to see why San Francisco is a good place to hike.

Author Bio

Alex Genadinik has lived in San Francisco for over 15 years and enjoys the Northern California open air.  He is presently engaged on uniting the numerous completely different small climbing teams dispersed all through the Bay Area right into a extra united outside group. You can discover out extra about nice San Francisco hikes at Hiking San Francisco. This put up has been up to date by ThePlanetD Team.

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