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Awesome Hikes in San Francisco

Jeff Howard March 3, 2021

Working from home in your stylish apartment can certainly be enjoyable, but you cannot truly experience San Francisco without exploring the many wonderful attractions around SF’s iconic neighborhoods. Take a hike with us across The City as we traverse breathtaking vistas and oceanfront pathways on 10 of the best hikes in San Francisco… and one trail that nearly includes them all!

Batteries to Bluffs Trail

 

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A plethora of San Francisco’s premier hiking trails can be found within The City’s 1500-acre Presidio bordering Pacific Heights, The Marina, and The Richmond District. The Batteries to Bluffs Trail between Marshall’s Beach and Baker Beach provides tremendous oceanfront glimpses and spectacular shots of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands on its wildflower-filled pathways. Make sure to bring a good pair of shoes, as the trails in this area have plenty of stunning staircases to climb, including the famous Sand Ladder.

Lovers’ Lane

 

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Positioned in the Presidio’s southeastern corner, this enchanting trail is popular with couples and those looking to find love. The relatively flat walking path is most well-known for Andy Goldsworthy’s Wood Line, a picturesque curving trail of tree trunks organized across the human-made urban forest. During the 1800s, The U.S. Army planted these beautiful eucalyptus trees that stand tall across The Presidio today.

Ecology Trail

Another great option in the area is The Ecology Trail, which connects Arguello Gate to The Presidio’s Main Post. This wilderness route crosses through habitats that include grasslands, redwoods, oaks, pine, and wildflowers. Popular stops along the way include the photo-ready Inspiration Point Overlook and another stunning installation by Andy Goldsworthy known as Spire.

John Muir Nature Trail

 

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Located within Golden Gate Park’s famed San Francisco Botanical Garden, the park’s series of paths intersect multiple beautiful gardens, such as the Succulent Garden, Redwood Grove Garden, and California Native Garden, and the Garden of Fragrance. Other attractions in the area are the Conifer Lawn, Ancient Plants Walk, and Andean Cloud Forest.

Twin Peaks

 

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Although most tourists have historically driven (or taken a bus) to the top of the 922-foot peaks, you’ll miss out on the unique views and abundance of plants and wildlife present across the region. Luckily, the Slow Streets program has limited vehicle traffic to the summit, and you are free to explore the trails, grasslands, and animals native to the hillside without interruption. Don’t forget to bring a windbreaker, as these steep and occasionally foggy hills can also warrant some of the strongest winds in The City!

Lands End Lookout

 

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Possibly the most well-known network of trails in San Francisco, the northwest corner of SF provides unbelievable Golden Gate, Pacific Ocean, and Marin Headlands views. The Lands End Trail, Coastal Trail, and El Camino Del Mar Trail cover the entire Lands End area, or “Point Lobos” as Spanish settlers named it for the “Lobos Marinos” or Sea Lions that inhabited the area. These rocky cliffs will lead you to Seal Rock Beach, Lands End Labyrinth, and Mile Rock Beach between the Sutro Baths and The Legion of Honor.

Glen Canyon Park

 

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Occasionally overlooked in the southern section of San Francisco, Glen Canyon is a hidden gem that all can enjoy! The 60-acre sanctuary contains trails, creeks, athletic fields, and wildflowers, among a diverse foliage and vegetation ecosystem. The plentiful walkways across this vast canyon cut through the Glen Park neighborhood towards Twin Peaks with iconic glimpses of Sutro Tower.

Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve

 

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Although many of the Mount Sutro trails have been closed for safety purposes recently, this expansive network will reopen in March of 2021. Known as an urban oasis neighboring UCSF’s Parnassus Campus, The Reserve boasts five miles of public multi-use trails typically open year-round. The 900-foot hill is San Francisco’s third tallest peak, and the 80-acre forest is riddled with eucalyptus that once covered the entire western side of The City.

Mount Davidson Hiking Path

 

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San Francisco’s highest peak can be found even further south in The City at the top of the 938-foot Mount Davidson. The 40-acre mountain park has no shortage of trails with unbelievable city views that are remarkable even on a foggy day. While this natural rain forest is covered in trails and spectacular vistas, the most popular attraction may be the large cross at the top of the mountain that can be seen from all around the city when it is lit up.

Bernal Heights Park

 

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If you’re looking for an easy trail to walk with pets or friends of any skill level, Bernal Heights Park has a one-mile looped trail with arguably the best SF skyline views in San Francisco. This not-so-hidden treasure stands out south of The Mission District. Restored in 1980 to its natural grassland habitat, the project was one of the first of its kind and helped to usher in multiple other restoration projects across The City.

SF Crosstown Trail

 

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The SF Crosstown Trail is definitely not for everyone, but anyone is welcome to attempt this spectacular walking journey across San Francisco! Beginning at Candlestick Point and zig-zagging its way northwest through SF, this 17-mile trail passes through most of the awesome hiking trails mentioned above. While this may be too much for most casual SF residents looking for some fresh air, this newly-constructed trail was officially unveiled to the public as part of National Trails Day on June 1st of 2019.

Get out there and take a hike, SF!

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