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16 Best Hikes in San Francisco You Must Try

16 Best Hikes in San Francisco You Must Try

Many tourists understand about the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and also group there as quickly as they reach the city and also they should, it’s a symbol of San Francisco. As a person that has actually resided in the city for virtually twenty years, traveler destinations in San Francisco behave, however I intend to share one method to enliven the experience of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and also the San Francisco Bay location by incorporating it with minimal recognized however still terrific treking places and also panorama factors. These are the most effective walks in San Francisco to obtain you outdoors and also use incredible sights.

Best Hikes in San Francisco, California

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Hiking Trails

Most tourists have a tendency to begin their Golden Gate Bridge stroll at the base of the bridge, reverse and also stroll back. They take some photos along the road and also go house. That isn’t negative, however to obtain even more workout, absorb much better sights, and also wind up really feeling even more pleased by having a day filled with even more differed experiences allow’s take points a little bit additional.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area flaunts miles of treking routes, and also unblocked sights and also is the excellent method to see a various side of San Francisco. It covers both the Marin and also San Francisco sides of the Golden Gate Bridge and also has treking routes for each physical fitness degree. For even more info on treking and also vehicle parking check out the Golden Gate Bridge Website.

2. Lands End

Lands End Hike in San Francisco

The path along Lands End Hike isn’t also long, however it is fairly wonderful. The stroll deals incredible views distinct to San Francisco. On a clear day, the walkers can see much right into the midsts of the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Marin Headlands to the north, and also the Golden Gate Bridge to the eastern.

Start off in the Outer Richmond location beside Lands End Golden Gate Area near the Cliff House and also the historical Sutro Baths and also Park at the Lands End Main Parking Lot. From there, a path introduces Lands End within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and also your experience begins.

The location is called Lands End since it lies essentially at the end of all land to the west as its high cliffs finish at the base of the Pacific Ocean. The slim path that parallels the high cliffs doesn’t let down. It rapidly leads the tourists right along the side of the high cliffs, listed below which the Pacific Ocean waves collapse right into the rocks.

Surprisingly, the park additionally has among the most effective art galleries in San Francisco. The Palace of the Legion of Honor is a wonderful area to pause for a hr or more and also absorb some Picasso and also Rembrandt prior to lastly avoiding to Golden Gate Bridge. The Lands End Trail finishes (no word play here meant) on a road called El Camino Del Mar, which has several of the most effective sights of the sea in the whole city and also remains in a respected community. 

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

3. Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

Walking back from Lands End Trail, you can stroll completely to the Golden Gate Bridge. The road El Camino Del Mar passes China Beach and after that develops into Lincoln Boulevard which leads towards the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a highway-like road, however quite quickly, smaller sized strolling routes appeared as detours and also lead in the direction of the bridge by means of a quieter and also a lot more picturesque strolling path unrestricted by vehicles.

Once on the bridge, the conventional and also timeless experience of strolling the bridge uses several of the very same sights of San Francisco Bay from a much various angle. In enhancement, as you obtain closer to the opposite of the bridge, sights of San Francisco midtown open, with the renowned Transamerica structure standing high over the remainder.

On cozy and also clear days, there are lots of little sailing boats right listed below the bridge, around the bay, and also near Alcatraz Island.  In enhancement, there are lots of big truck ships entering the San Francisco and also Oakland ports from all over worldwide.  All the ships to these ports come with the bay and also they are fairly a reward to see. On fortunate days, there are also army cars that enter the port and also I have actually directly ever before seen a submarine travelling over the water regarding 10 years earlier.

4. Batteries to Bluffs

Batteries to Bluffs Hiking Trail San Francisco

Sticking around the very same location as the Lands End walking is the Batteries to Bluffs path walking in San Francisco. Located in San Francisco’s Presidio, a 1,500-acre park on a previous army blog post, the Batteries to Bluffs path walking uses sights of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Bay location, and also the tough shoreline. This is simply a 2-mile (3.2 kilometres) trek big salami, so it can quickly be included in your San Francisco Itinerary.

The path begins at Lincoln blvd where you can park at the Langdon Court Parking whole lot. This parking area links to the routes bring about the Golden Gate Welcome Center which includes the Golden Gate Overlook and also the batteries utilized to safeguard the Golden Gate Bridge and also San Francisco from 1891 to 1946. You can go through these historical websites with sights of the Golden Gate Bridge from Presidio, Battery Boutelle, Battery Marcus and also Battery Cranston.

The Golden Gate Overlook is just one of the premier places to picture the Golden Gate Bridge so the path is hectic, but also for excellent factor. It uses the most effective sights of the Golden Gate Bridge in the city. There are a great deal of wood actions along this walking and also among the most effective areas to for sundown is to take the actions down to Marshall’s Beach.

5. Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks Hike in San Francisco

Twin Peaks is just one of the most effective San Francisco treking routes for amazing city sights. It is a greatly trafficked path 3.4 mile loophole path, and also you can drive or cycle approximately the hunt. Twin Peaks is a metropolitan treking path situated within the city restricts it is the 2nd highest top in San Francisco (922-foot high ) that ignores the whole San Francisco Bay location, and also the city’s spots. The trek really feels far from the city with woodland routes, eucalyptus trees, rough outcrops, wood pathways and also dust courses taking you approximately Eureka Peak and also Noe Peak.

Starting in Glen Canyon Park, the Twin Peaks path climbs up 1.7 miles to Eureka Peak and also Noe Peak and after that come down on the North Side to Christmas Tree Point for the very best sights of the Pacific and also the city of San Francisco. Christmas Tree Point obtained its name from the titan Christmas tree that is set up every year by the city. On the back, get on to the Gum Tree Girls Trail for a various viewpoint.

6. Mount Sutro Loop

Mount Sutro Loop in San Francisco

If you intend to proceed strolling, it’s one more 1.1 miles from Twin Peaks along the roadway to the Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve with treking routes and also greenspace neglecting the city. Or you can stroll this 1.9 mile loophole path (3.2 kilometer) along The Historic Trail from 17th and also Stanyan. It takes you approximately the Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve which is a 61 acre open area book possessed by the UCSF. It is a prominent place for citizens with 5 miles of public, multi-use routes, and also a 900-foot altitude gain.

On the method down you can sign up with the Fairy Gates path to the Fairy Gates Trailhead at Stanyan Street to stroll back along the road to where you began.

7. Golden Gate Bridge to Marin Headlands

Hking out to the Marin Headlands in San Francisco

One of one of the most renowned points 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 locate this sufficient of a stroll, however if you intend to discover a lot more, There are a lot of treking routes in the Muir Woods.

8. Muir Woods

Muir Woods in San Francisco Hiking

Located simply beyond San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument uses several of one of the most magnificent treking routes near San Francisco. There are a lot of various routes covering throughout the 554 acres of Muir Woods. There are numerous routes in Muir Woods to pick from.

Note that Parking appointments are called for ahead of time. Parking fills rapidly and also if you don’t publication ahead of time you won’t enter. Check with the National Parks Service to find out more.

This gorgeous location uses amazing bay location walking amongst the old-growth seaside redwoods. Muir Woods has numerous routes, with The Muir Woods Main Trail being a prominent beginning area that talks to various other routes in the location.

Leaving from the Muir Woods Visitor’s Center and also complying with Redwood Creek, this simple walking is done on a boardwalk and also appropriates for any ages. It is a 2.0 mile loophole path (3.2 kilometres) with just a 30-foot altitude gain.

If you are trying to find a longer walking sign up with The Ben Johnson Trail for a 6.3km loop that will take you through some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the Muir Woods National Monument.

Distance: 2.0 mi (3.2 kilometres)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 are up for a bit of a drive outside of San Francisco, you can head out to Mount Diablo State Park, which is about a 40 minute drive east of the city. This is a perfect day trip and the views over East Bay hills are spectacular. The summit trail here ranges in length and difficulty and is best suited for seasoned hikers.

For the best views we recommend the Donner Creek Loop trail. This out-and-back trail has some of the most spectacular views and is more of a moderate trail.

Start in the parking lot at the north entrance at Regency Drive and hike along the Donner Creek Fire Road and then take the Back Creek Trail Back.

One of the reasons you’ll love this trail is that you actually pass a few waterfalls and weave through the plains during the second half of the trail. If you are looking for a day of hiking, near the San Francisco bay area make sure to check out this State Park.

10. Tennessee Valley Trail, Marin Headlands

Located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Tennessee Valley trail is a hike that leads to a sandy beach a beautiful lookout. You can choose from two different beaches. From the Tennessee Valley trailhead, you can either hike straight to Tennessee Beach for an out-and-back hike or do the more challenging loophole to Muir Beach via the Pirate’s Cove Trail. This hike starts from the Tennessee Valley Trailhead and is about a 9-mile loop.

If you choose the Tennessee Valley trail it winds its way with beautiful coastal hills and ends at the beach at Tennessee Cove. Here you can have a picnic and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean. See more: 24 Of The Best Beaches in California

Distance: 7.0 mi (14.6 km) via 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 often overlooked place to hike in the Bay Area, even though it is only a 40min ferry ride from Pier 41 in downtown San Francisco. There are 2 main hiking trails in the state park. The Sunset Trail goes to the summit of Mount Livermore and is a little more challenging than the other one. The payoff is the 360 degree views of the skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and East Bay.

The other trail in Angel Island State Park is the Perimeter Trail. This is an easy hike and gives you many different viewpoints as well as places to learn about the history of the island itself. If you are visiting the bay area for a few days then Angel Island is definitely worth a visit even if hiking is not at the top of your list. You can also 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, just a 20-minute drive from downtown San Francisco, Redwood Regional Park is best is known for the old growth redwood forest that makes for the perfect backdrop to any hike. It is actually the largest remaining natural stand of coast redwood in East Bay.

Our recommendation is to hop on the Stream Trail, Mill Trail, and French Trail Loop. This is a trail with a lot of ups and downs but the smell of the redwoods combined with the beautiful forest landscape make this a perfect hike especially when it gets really hot.

 Start at the Skyline Gate Parking Lot and follow the Stream Trail until you come to where it meets the Mill Trail. Follow this for a bit until it hooks up with the French Trail and take this back to the parking lot.

13. Mori Point, Pacifica

Mori Point Pacifica near San Francisco

Mori Point is a spectacular lookout that is just south of San Francisco. Situated in San Mateo County, Mori Point offers a few different hiking trails that are along the coast. It also hooks up with the longer Coastal Trail. This 32 acre wetland park has several of the best views of the ocean in the Golden Gate National National Recreation area.

The 2 trails we recommend are the Old Mori Trail, which is more of a stroll as it is flat as a pancake. It does however bring you out to some incredible views. And you can head down the stairs to get to the beach if you like. Just remember, you have to come back up the 185 steps.

The other recommendation is the Mori Point Loop Trail. This 1.5-mile (2.4km) loop trail offers some great coastal views as well as wildflowers and wildlife. It can get windy along the coast and there are some steep sections, but it is worth it in our opinion. This is a perfect place to enjoy the sunset and spot whales.

Distance: 1.5 mi (2.4 km)Elevation Gain: 1200 ftTime: 30 minutesTrailhead: Mori Point Parking Lot (Directions Here)

14. Tomales Point Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore

Tomales Pooint Trail near San Francisco

This hike is one of the classics. Not only because of the stunning views, but because it is one of the quieter hikes near San Francisco. The Tomales Point Trail is located in Point Reyes National Seashore between Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

There is a lot to see during this hike. Duck Beach, Sand Point, Tom’s Point and views of Bird Rock just to name a few. What is also cool is that it is entirely in the Tule Elk Preserve, so your chances of seeing some elk are pretty good.

This is an out-and-back trail so make sure to give yourself time to get back. One note, this trail is often covered in fog. This doesn’t take away from the hike itself, but if you put in the time to get to the lookout and it is fogged in you might be disappointed. That being said, the hike is worth 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 is a little bit of everything for everyone. Different trails with differing levels of difficulty and length. Beginners, seasoned hikers, walkers, joggers, and bikers all have a place at Mount Tam.

Its diverse landscape makes making it one of one of the most popular trails in the area. Enjoy stunning views of the rolling hills, oak forest, redwood, and scenic ocean on the trails.

The ultimate challenge is to hike all the way up to the mountain peak for a breathtaking view of the sea. Most visitors opt for a leisurely walk along the Dipsea Trail, steep ravine trail 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 known as the coast side trail, enjoy scenic trails with breathtaking views of the pacific ocean. Even though this trail is on a cliff it’s probably one of the easiest on this list as the entire terrain is mostly flat. The hiking trail is about 6-mile roundtrip and is perfect for bikers, walkers, or hikers.

The entire path is well-maintained and very easy to walk, consider it more of a scenic walking route. Enjoy stunning views of real swimming in the ocean and birds floating about. The best part is the cooling breeze from the ocean that makes the hike well worth it.

Distance: 7.5 mi (12 kilometres) out and also backElevation Gain: 213 ftTime: 1hr 15 minutesTrailhead: Miramontes Point Road

What to Pack for your San Francisco Hikes

What to Pack for Hiking in San Francisco

When it comes to hiking around the San Francisco area you want to make sure you pack a few necessities as the weather can change quickly and you want to be prepared for any situation, even on the shorter hikes. Here is what we suggest you pack in a day pack before hitting the trails.

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

Hiking Trails near San Francisco

Regardless of which hike you choose, getting out onto the trails is a great activity to add to your San Francisco Itinerary. To say that we were impressed with the sheer amount of trails would be an understatement. Pair that with the coastal sights and also how well-maintained the trails are and also it is easy to see why San Francisco is a great place to hike.

Author Bio

Alex Genadinik has lived in San Francisco for over 15 years and also enjoys the Northern California outdoors.  He is currently working on uniting the many different small hiking groups dispersed throughout the Bay Area into a even more united outdoor community. You can find out a lot more about terrific San Francisco walks at Hiking San Francisco. This post has actually been upgraded by ThePlanetD Team.

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