16 Best Hikes in San Francisco You Must Try

Many vacationers know in regards to 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 20 years, vacationer points of interest in San Francisco are good, however I need to share a technique to boost the expertise of visiting the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay space by combining it with lesser recognized however nonetheless nice mountaineering spots and vista factors. These are one of the best hikes in San Francisco to get you outdoor and supply wonderful views.

Best Hikes in San Francisco, California

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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 way in which and go residence. That isn’t dangerous, however to get extra train, take in higher views, and find yourself feeling extra happy by having a day filled with extra diverse experiences let’s take issues a bit additional.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area boasts miles of mountaineering trails, and unobstructed views and is the proper method to see a distinct aspect of San Francisco. It spans each the Marin and San Francisco sides of the Golden Gate Bridge and has mountaineering trails for each health stage. For extra info on mountaineering 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 affords large 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 throughout the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and your journey begins.

The space known as Lands End as a result of it’s positioned 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, under which the Pacific Ocean waves crash into the rocks.

Surprisingly, the park additionally has among the best artwork museums in San Francisco. The Palace of the Legion of Honor is a superb 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 supposed) on a road known as El Camino Del Mar, which has a few of the greatest 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
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Walking again from Lands End Trail, you may stroll all the way in which to the Golden Gate Bridge. The road 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 road, however fairly quickly, smaller strolling trails change into out there as detours and lead in the direction of the bridge through a quieter and extra scenic strolling route unhindered by vehicles.

Once on the bridge, the standard and basic expertise of strolling the bridge affords a few of the similar views of San Francisco Bay from a a lot completely different angle. In addition, as you get nearer to the opposite aspect of the bridge, views of San Francisco downtown open up, with the long-lasting Transamerica constructing standing tall above the remainder.

On heat and clear days, there are numerous little sailboats proper under the bridge, throughout the bay, and close to Alcatraz Island.  In addition, there are numerous gigantic freighter ships coming into the San Francisco and Oakland ports from in every single place in the world.  All the ships to those ports come by means of 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
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Sticking across the similar 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 affords 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 will probably simply be added to your San Francisco Itinerary.

The path begins at Lincoln blvd the place you may 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 means of 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 purpose. It affords one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the town. There are a variety of picket steps alongside this hike and among the best locations to for sundown is to take the steps right down to Marshall’s Beach.

5. Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks Hike in San Francisco
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Twin Peaks is likely one of the greatest San Francisco mountaineering 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 mountaineering path positioned throughout 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 distant from the town with forest trails, eucalyptus timber, rocky outcrops, picket walkways and dust 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 one of the best views of the Pacific and the town of San Francisco. Christmas Tree Point bought its title from the enormous Christmas tree that’s erected every year by the town. On the way in which again, hop on to the Gum Tree Girls Trail for a distinct perspective.

6. Mount Sutro Loop

Mount Sutro Loop in San Francisco
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If you need to proceed strolling, it’s one other 1.1 miles from Twin Peaks alongside the street to the Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve with mountaineering trails and greenspace overlooking the town. Or you may 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 house 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 acquire.

On the way in which down you may 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
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One of essentially 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 mountaineering trails in the Muir Woods.

8. Muir Woods

Muir Woods in San Francisco Hiking
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Located simply exterior of San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument affords a few of the most beautiful mountaineering 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 when you don’t guide in advance you gained’t get in. Check with the National Parks Service for extra info.

This lovely space affords spectacular bay space mountaineering 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 completed 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 acquire.

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 a few of the most beautiful 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
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If you’re up for a little bit of a drive exterior of San Francisco, you may 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 greatest suited to seasoned hikers.

For one of the best views we suggest the Donner Creek Loop path. This out-and-back path has a few of 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 truly move a number of waterfalls and weave by means of the plains throughout the second half of the path. If you’re on the lookout for a day of mountaineering, close to the San Francisco bay space make sure 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 may both hike straight to Tennessee Beach for an out-and-back hike or do the more difficult 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 approach by means of lovely coastal hills and ends on the seaside at Tennessee Cove. Here you may 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
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Surprisingly, Angel Island State Park is an usually ignored place to hike in the Bay Area, despite the fact that it is just a 40min ferry experience from Pier 41 in downtown San Francisco. There are 2 most important mountaineering 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 provides you many alternative viewpoints in addition to locations to be taught in regards to 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 mountaineering just isn’t on the prime of your listing. You may camp on the island.

How to Get to Angel Island:

12. Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park Hikes San Francisco
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Located in the East Bay Regional Park District, only a 20-minute drive from downtown San Francisco, Redwood Regional Park is greatest is understood for the outdated development redwood forest that makes for the proper 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 a variety 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 observe 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
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Mori Point is a spectacular lookout that’s simply south of San Francisco. Situated in San Mateo County, Mori Point affords a number of completely different mountaineering trails which might be alongside the coast. It additionally hooks up with the longer Coastal Trail. This 32 acre wetland park has a few of the greatest 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 carry you out to some unimaginable views. And you may head down the steps to get to the seaside when you like. Just keep in mind, it’s a must to come again up the 185 steps.

The different advice is the Mori Point Loop Trail. This 1.5-mile (2.4km) loop path affords 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
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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 positioned in Point Reyes National Seashore between Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

There is quite a bit 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 solely in the Tule Elk Preserve, so your probabilities of seeing some elk are fairly good.

This is an out-and-back path so make sure that to provide your self time to get again. One word, this path is usually lined in fog. This doesn’t take away from the hike itself, however when you put in the time to get to the lookout and it’s fogged in you could be upset. That being stated, the hike is price it fog or no fog.

15. Mount Tamalpais state park

best hikes in san francisco Mount tamalpais state park
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At Mount Tamalpais state park, there’s a little little bit of all the pieces 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 widespread 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 way in which 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
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Also generally known as the coast aspect path, take pleasure in scenic trails with breathtaking views of the pacific ocean. Even although this path is on a cliff it’s in all probability one of many best on this listing as the whole terrain is generally flat. The mountaineering path is about 6-mile roundtrip and is ideal for bikers, walkers, or hikers.

The whole path is well-maintained and really straightforward to stroll, contemplate it extra of a scenic strolling route. Enjoy beautiful 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
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When it involves mountaineering across the San Francisco space you need to be sure to pack a number of requirements because the climate can change shortly and also you need to be ready for any scenario, even on the shorter hikes. Here is what we recommend you pack in a day pack earlier than hitting the paths.

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

Hiking Trails near San Francisco
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Regardless of which hike you select, getting out onto the paths is a superb exercise so as to add to your San Francisco Itinerary. To say that we had been impressed with the sheer quantity of trails can 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 superb place to hike.

Author Bio

Alex Genadinik has lived in San Francisco for over 15 years and enjoys the Northern California outdoor.  He is presently engaged on uniting the various completely different small mountaineering teams dispersed all through the Bay Area right into a extra united out of doors neighborhood. 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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