Best Hikes in San Francisco

Best Hikes in San Francisco

San Francisco is known for many things: cable cars, foggy weather, its vast array of museums. However, most people dont think of it as a great hiking spot. And why should they? The citys sometimes notoriously steep 48 hills and Golden Gate Park are the most commonly cited hikes” + nature,but theres plenty more where that came from in this 7-by-7-mile parcel of land. Here are some of the best San Francisco hikes.

*Wildfires happen, things change — be sure to check the trail status before you go.

Featured Photo: @piratecatinc
Photo: @calvinlook999

California Coastal Trail: Lands End to Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco

Level: Moderate — 4.4 miles

Youll tick off a bunch of boxes on this beloved trail thats part of a system that spans from Mexico to Oregon. Starting at the now-defunct Cliff House, it will take you past the historic Sutro Baths and old military batteries, as well as the well-heeled Seacliff neighborhood. Youll see dramatic coastal cliffs, lush forests and postcard views of both the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge. In summation, a hike youll remember for the rest of your life.

Photo: Kasia Pawlowska

Corona Heights Trail

San Francisco

Level: Moderate — .6 miles

Dont let the name deter you, this hike was a lifesaver for homebound San Franciscans especially during the peak of the pandemic. Never too crowded, this loop will take you past the Randall Museum and up an unlikely outcropping of chert. At the summit youll get some of the best views of the city, but be careful with hats — its almost always super windy. Dogs on leashes are permitted and for extra calorie burn, start in the Castro and tack on Buena Vista Park to your trip — youll end up on Haight and Baker.

Photo: @Eric_s_f

Ecology Trail and Lovers' Lane Loop

San Francisco

Level: Easy — 2 miles

If youre making a stop at the Walt Disney Family Museum or elsewhere in the Presidio, this is an ideal hike to add to your day. A great option for most ages and skill levels, this trail gets high marks for its accessibility (parking is generally plentiful), for being dog-friendly, for the wildflowers, and for the sense of calm it provides. When youre under the towering pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees youll see for yourself.

Photo: Kasia Pawlowska

Filbert Steps to Telegraph Hill

San Francisco

Level: Moderate — .5 miles

A hidden passageway between some of the citys most notable landmarks, youll feel like an insider huffing up these steps. Not for the faint of heart — people will be taking breaks along the way — this trail will take you from Levis Plaza up to Coit Tower. If youre at the Embarcadero and want to go to North Beach the adventurous way, this is the ticket. Steep steps pave a way past storybook homes with gorgeous, overflowing gardens — a stunning urban hike.

Photo: @hanansuk

Mount Sutro to Twin Peaks

San Francisco

Level: Moderate — 3.8 miles

Fun fact: Sutro Tower is now one of San Franciscos most emblematic landmarks, but it was not a welcomed addition when it was built in 1973. The hike up to this massive pitchfork is varied and somewhat challenging — hiking boots are highly advised, especially for some of the steeper parts. Youll experience both sweeping vistas and wooded hillsides and a dazzling array of wildlife, all in the middle of the city. Bring a jacket! Wind is a constant.

Photo: @_jinsungkim

Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill Loop

San Francisco

Level: Easy — 2.1 miles

This hike is as magical as the name of it implies. A very popular spot given its location smack dab in the middle of Golden Gate Park, this little manmade lake is an absolute charmer for several reasons. Not only is there an abundance of turtles and ducks, but also a Chinese pavilion and waterfall. Wheelchair-friendly, you can cross the bridge and venture to the top of the hill. If you want to explore by water, you can also rent pedal boats.

Looking for more things to do in the Bay Area?

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