San Francisco
San Francisco

hikes in San Francisco

Region in California, United States
San Francisco Trail Map

The San Francisco Area offers amazing hiking and outdoor pursuit opportunities, boasting the perfect ratio of inner-city trails to wilderness hikes. From the windy cliffs of the Pacific Ocean to peaceful redwood forests and soaring crests, the area offers a wonderful variety. With a rugged coastline, lofty peaks, and lush valleys, there are trails here to suit everyone. Come and discover the natural beauty of the Bay Area!

The rugged landscape of the Bay Area is the ideal place for a thrilling day hike within close proximity to major population centers like San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. Seeking something more local? Explore one of the many urban walks and revel in the views of Market Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and more.

Many of the hiking trails here are easy to follow and suitable for kids, with little elevation gain. If, however, you’re looking for more of a challenge, the iconic Mount Diablo Hike or Mission Peak Loop will give your legs a good workout! Wherever you choose, you can be sure of one thing – you’ll never be far from a great restaurant where you can kick back with a glass of California’s excellent Napa Valley wine.

If you’re heading for the Golden State, don’t miss the opportunity to do a little hiking. To give you some ideas for your next adventure, we’ve put together a list of our favorite hikes in the San Francisco Area below:

Top 12 Greatest Hikes in the San Francisco Area

The San Francisco Area is packed full of fun hiking trails in some of California’s prettiest coastal scenery. This is the place to come for long coastal walks, heading down to rocky beaches where seals play in the waters of the Pacific, or for pleasant city strolls. Many of these hikes are perfect for families or those looking for easy, low-key trails. However, the San Francisco Area is also a great place for those looking for something a little more strenuous, with plenty of long hikes that offer spectacular views over the coast and hillsides. San Francisco is an outdoor playground, and it offers a little something for everyone.

The Strawberry Hill Hike is a family-friendly adventure in the city that boasts the perfect opportunity to get outdoors. Wander through the park amongst a diversity of flora and fauna, past a mesmerizing waterfall, and up to the summit of the hill that offers wonderful views.

Wander along the pristine beaches of the Pacific along the Shark Fin Cove Loop. This epic expedition offers the opportunity to explore the impressive sea cave before climbing up to the cultivated farmlands atop the cape. This incredible adventure should be moved to the top of your hiking to-do list.

The Muir Beach and Tennessee Beach Loop is a moderate adventure ideal for intermediate hikers and families with older children. Wander atop the fog-shrouded headlands and revel in the beauty of the coastal environment. Located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the city center, this wonderful hike is a must-add to your Bay Area itinerary.

Indulge in the enchanting nature of the temperate forest along the Cataract Falls Trail. Contrary to most hikes in the area, this route is best explored in the rainy winter season when the vegetation is abundant and lush, and the cascades surge over the moss-cloaked boulders. This magical trail presents postcard perfect scenery.

The Mission Peak Loop is a revered adventure on the outskirts of Fremont that attracts hundreds of adventurers daily. This wonderful trail travels through dense communities’ sagebrush, scrub oak, and flowering meadows often grazed by cattle that meander along the mountainside. Enjoy epic views of the Bay Area from the summit.

Hike up to the peak of the mountain that commands the skyline from the Bay Area. The Mount Diablo Trail is a revered adventure that offers famous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sierra Nevada, the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Cascades, and more.

The Fort Funston Coastal Trail is a family-friendly hike that is a must-add to your Bay Area itinerary. Meander atop the coastal headlands, enjoy epic views of the Pacific and explore the remnants of the decommissioned naval defense base.

The Lake Merritt Hike is a family-friendly scenic shoreline walk around the perimeter of the tidal lagoon. Enjoy the encompassing gardens at your leisure and marvel in the wonderful scenes of the cityscape in the backdrop. Merritt Lake is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike in the Bay Area.

The Point Bonitas Lighthouse Trail is an epic coastal experience to a historic lighthouse. Explore the lighthouse that has mitigated thousands of shipwrecks and indulge in the beauty of the dramatic Pacific coastline and Golden Gate Bridge.

Revel in the wonderful coastal scenery along the Mori Point Hike. This epic excursion meanders along the Pacifica State Beach before ascending the fragile coastal prairies that overlook the surf below. Hikers of most skill levels, including children, should be able to manage this route.

Escape the city and head out into Napa County along the Sam the Eagle and Shoreline Loop. Whether you are a hiker or biker, you can enjoy this beautiful route through coast live oak and along the shoreline of Hennessey Lake.

Enjoy views of the bustling city, including Market Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, Corona Heights, Mount Diablo, and much more from the Twin Peaks Trail. This wonderful urban excursion in San Francisco can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill levels and ages year-round.

When is the Best Time to Visit San Francisco?

The Bay Area is a year-round hiking destination, and you’ll find accessible trails in all seasons. However, North Bay is notorious for its varied and unpredictable weather, meaning that whatever time of year you visit, you should be prepared for a variety of weather conditions! The region boasts many different microclimates, meaning that you may not experience the same conditions at the trailhead as you find later on in your hike.

That said, we love hiking in San Francisco in the autumn, when the beautiful forests are at their finest, seeing out the summer in a final blaze of color. Spring can be a wonderful time for hiking in many areas, although you should expect plenty of fog. Summer is typically dry, although there’s always a chance of fog and rain in some areas, and the coastal breeze ensures that things don’t get uncomfortably hot for hiking.

Other Outdoor Activities in the San Francisco Area

San Francisco is an outdoor playground, and in addition to hiking, you’ll find plenty of other fun outdoor activities in the Bay Area. If you’re a cycling aficionado, this area is perfect, with miles of mountain biking and road biking trails to suit all fitness and ability levels. It’s also a wonderful place for horse riding, sea kayaking, sailing, wild swimming, canoeing, wildlife watching, and camping out under the stars. This beautiful, diverse region has a remarkable range of places to explore, meaning that you’re sure to find something that will suit your interests.

Frequently-Asked-Questions About San Francisco

What is San Francisco known for?

San Francisco is famously known for the Golden Gate Bridge, Market Street, Alcatraz, and of course, the series Full House.

Can you see whales in the North Bay?

Yes. The best time for whale watching on the coast of North Bay is during April and early May. The Sonoma Coast and Point Reyes are the best places to spot whales with young calves at this time of the year.

Do you need to book in advance for Muir Woods?

Muir Woods is a protected area, and you need to book in advance to visit. Visitors can take the shuttle bus from the highway to avoid congestion on the road to the woods.

What are the best hiking routes in San Francisco?

We answered that question above, but seemingly the Fort Funston Coastal Trail, the Lake Merritt Hike, and Strawberry Hill Hike are the most popular trails near the city center.

Is the San Francisco Area good for hiking?

San Francisco's year-round temperate climate, dramatic coastline, and hilly terrain make for a hiking wonderland.

Awesome Adventure Tours near San Francisco

If you’ve set your sights on the Bay Area for your next outdoor adventure, refer to our guide on planning a trip to North Bay. We’ve gathered together insider tips on everything from where to stay, when to visit, and lots of fun activities that you shouldn’t miss while you’re in the area. You’ll also find lists of our favorite hikes, with something to suit all ages and abilities! Don’t forget to check out our Point Reyes hiking tour or California and Hawaii multisport self-drive tour for an unforgettable adventure.

Find Other Amazing Hiking Regions in California

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The best hikes in San Francisco

Strawberry Hill Hike

01. Strawberry Hill Hike
Difficulty

2.1mi 148ft 0.5-1h

The Strawberry Hill Hike is a wonderful adventure in the Golden State Park that boasts… Read More

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Shark Fin Cove Loop

02. Shark Fin Cove Loop
Difficulty

2.4mi 184ft 1h

The Shark Fin Cove Loop is a wonderful expedition along the California coast that boasts… Read More

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Muir Beach and Tennessee Beach Loop

03. Muir Beach and Tennessee Beach Loop
Difficulty

9.1mi 1,834ft 4-6h

The Muir Beach and Tennessee Beach Loop beckons the exploration of adventurers seeking a coastal… Read More

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Mission Peak Loop

04. Mission Peak Loop
Difficulty

5.8mi 2,136ft 3.5-5h

The Mission Peak Loop is a revered adventure on the outskirts of Fremont that attracts… Read More

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Mount Diablo Hike

05. Mount Diablo Hike
Difficulty

7.0mi 2,100ft 4-5.5h

Though not the tallest mountain in the state, the hike to Mount Diablo is a… Read More

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Lake Merritt Hike

06. Lake Merritt Hike
Difficulty

3.2mi 49ft 1-1.5h

The Lake Merritt Hike is a wonderful urban walk in Oakland, CA. Wander around the… Read More

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Twin Peaks Trail Map

07. Twin Peaks Trail
Difficulty

2.1mi 272ft 1h

The Twin Peaks Trail is an iconic San Francisco adventure that visitors and locals alike… Read More

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Alum Rock South Rim Trail

08. Alum Rock South Rim Trail
Difficulty

4.3mi 771ft 2-2.5h

The Alum Rock South Rim Trail is an unassumingly beautiful adventure in the foothills of… Read More

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Fort Funston Coastal Trail

09. Fort Funston Coastal Trail
Difficulty

2.0mi 161ft 0.5-1h

The Fort Funston Coastal Trail boasts an unrivaled experience, offering breathtaking ocean views and the… Read More

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Mori Point Loop Trail

10. Mori Point Loop Trail
Difficulty

2.5mi 397ft 1-1.5h

The Mori Point Loop Trail, located in the Golden Gate Recreation Area, is an excellent… Read More

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Yes, there are more than 10

San Francisco is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in San Francisco that you should take a look at as well

Mori Point Hike

11. Mori Point Hike
Difficulty

2.8mi 308ft 1-1.5h

The Mori Point Hike is a family-friendly adventure in Pacifica that boasts an unforgettable experience.… Read More

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Sam the Eagle and Shoreline Loop Map

12. Sam the Eagle and Shoreline Loop
Difficulty

2.8mi 348ft 1-1.5h

The Sam the Eagle and Shoreline Loop is a magnificent trail in the Napa Valley… Read More

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Briones Regional Park Loop via Bear Creek Trailhead

13. Briones Regional Park Loop via Bear Creek Trailhead
Difficulty

6.6mi 1,168ft 3-4h

The Briones Regional Park Loop via Bear Creek Trailhead would make an excellent addition to… Read More

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Point Bonita Lighthouse Trail

14. Point Bonita Lighthouse Trail
Difficulty

1.0mi 125ft 0.5h

The Point Bonita Lighthouse Trail is a must-add to your to-do list the next time… Read More

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Big C and Tightwad Hill Hike Map

15. Big C and Tightwad Hill Hike
Difficulty

0.9mi 295ft 0.5h

The Big C and Tightwad Hill Hike is a scenic hike above Berkeley that offers… Read More

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Mount Tamalpais Loop

16. Mount Tamalpais Loop
Difficulty

13.3mi 2,349ft 6-8h

The Mount Tamalpais Loop beckons the exploration of intrepid adventurers and daring novices. Though strenuous,… Read More

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Four Peaks Loop Trail

17. Four Peaks Loop Trail
Difficulty

13.8mi 4,419ft 7.5-10.5h

The Four Peaks Loop is a demanding adventure up to the summit of four incredible… Read More

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Bernal Heights Park Trail

18. Bernal Heights Park Trail
Difficulty

1.0mi 108ft 0.5h

The Bernal Heights Park Trail is an easy-going adventure in San Francisco that the whole… Read More

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Golden Gate Park Loop

19. Golden Gate Park Loop
Difficulty

7.3mi 407ft 2.5-3.5h

Explore the epic urban park along the Golden Gate Park Loop. This wonderful adventure can… Read More

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Glen Canyon Park Loop

20. Glen Canyon Park Loop
Difficulty

1.8mi 305ft 1h

Escape the busyness of the city along the Glen Canyon Park Loop. This family-friendly nature… Read More

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Bay Area Ridge Trail Map

21. Bay Area Ridge Trail
Difficulty

2.6mi 131ft 1h

The Bay Area Ridge Trail offers views of the quintessential San Francisco landmarks—including unrivaled panoramas… Read More

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Eagle Rock Loop Map

22. Eagle Rock Loop
Difficulty

2.7mi 499ft 1-1.5h

The Eagle Rock Loop is a pleasant hike that the whole family can enjoy. Explore… Read More

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Coyote Peak and Ridge Trail Loop

23. Coyote Peak and Ridge Trail Loop
Difficulty

3.8mi 705ft 1.5-2.5h

The Coyote Peak and Ridge Trail Loop is a wonderful day hike near San José… Read More

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24. Lands End Trail
Difficulty

3.4mi 538ft 1.5-2h

Those visiting or new to the Bay Area must explore the Lands End Trail. This… Read More

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Año Nuevo Point Trail

25. Año Nuevo Point Trail
Difficulty

4.1mi 207ft 1.5-2h

The Año Nuevo Point Trail is a wonderful adventure that the whole family can enjoy.… Read More

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Rodeo Beach Trail

26. Rodeo Beach Trail
Difficulty

1.4mi 39ft 0.5h

The Rodeo Beach Trail is a lovely shoreline walk along the Pacific that boasts wonderful… Read More

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Dipsea Trail

27. Dipsea Trail
Difficulty

9.7mi 2,743ft 5-7h

The Dipsea Trail is an enchanting adventure through temperate redwood forests, lush coastal prairies, and… Read More

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Golden Gate and Pacific Overlook Hike Map

28. Golden Gate and Pacific Overlook Hike
Difficulty

0.7mi 26ft 0.5h

The Golden Gate and Pacific Overlook Hike is a magical adventure that hikers of all… Read More

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Bay to Breakers Route

29. Bay to Breakers Route
Difficulty

7.5mi 367ft 2.5-3.5h

The Bay to Breakers Race is the oldest consecutively run footrace in the world—though not… Read More

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Corona Heights Trail

30. Corona Heights Trail
Difficulty

0.6mi 115ft 0.5h

Indulge yourself in wonderful views of San Francisco’s cityscape along the Corona Heights Trail. Located… Read More

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Batteries to Bluffs Trail

31. Batteries to Bluffs Trail
Difficulty

2.2mi 449ft 1-1.5h

The Batteries to Bluffs Trail is unrivaled in its scenery—offering wonderful vistas of the Golden… Read More

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Golden Gate Bridge via Baker Beach Trail

32. Golden Gate Bridge via Baker Beach Trail
Difficulty

5.9mi 686ft 2.5-3h

The Golden Gate Bridge via Baker Beach Trail is an epic excursion in San Francisco… Read More

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Seal Rocks Beach Trail Map

33. Seal Rocks Beach Trail
Difficulty

2.3mi 390ft 1-1.5h

The Seal Rocks Beach Trail is a wonderful adventure in the Bay Area that boasts… Read More

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Mount Sutro Loop Map

34. Mount Sutro Loop
Difficulty

2.0mi 495ft 1-1.5h

The Mount Sutro Loop is an excellent trail through a lush open space near UCSF.… Read More

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San Francisco Bay Trail: Foster City Map

35. San Francisco Bay Trail: Foster City
Difficulty

10.4mi 105ft 3-4.5h

The San Francisco Bay Trail: Foster City is a wonderful path along the bay that… Read More

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San Francisco Bay Trail: Richmond Inner Harbor Map

36. San Francisco Bay Trail: Richmond Inner Harbor
Difficulty

9.4mi 89ft 3-4h

The San Francisco Bay Trail: Richmond Inner Harbor is an excellent adventure ideal for explorers… Read More

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Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Golden Gate Bridge Map

37. Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Golden Gate Bridge
Difficulty

1.7mi 240ft 0.5-1h

The Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-add to your Bay… Read More

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Ecology Trail and Lovers' Lane Loop

38. Ecology Trail and Lovers' Lane Loop
Difficulty

2.0mi 295ft 1h

Get outside into the fresh air along the Ecology Trail and Lovers’ Lane Loop. This… Read More

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Filbert Steps to Telegraph Hill Hike

39. Filbert Steps to Telegraph Hill Hike
Difficulty

0.5mi 262ft 0.5h

The Filbert Steps to Telegraph Hill Hike is an amazing urban adventure that boasts wonderful… Read More

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Sutro Heights Loop Map

40. Sutro Heights Loop
Difficulty

0.6mi 16ft 0.5h

The Sutro Heights Loop is a short and scenic shoreline adventure that offers wonderful views… Read More

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Lands End and Sutro Baths Trail

41. Lands End and Sutro Baths Trail
Difficulty

0.8mi 141ft 0.5h

The Lands End and Sutro Baths Trail boasts an unforgettable experience that the whole family… Read More

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Presidio Promenade Trail

42. Presidio Promenade Trail
Difficulty

4.5mi 423ft 1.5-2.5h

The Presidio Promenade Trail is a lovely adventure through a variety of terrains. Explore enchanting… Read More

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Presidio Loop Trail

43. Presidio Loop Trail
Difficulty

6.1mi 778ft 2.5-3.5h

The Presidio Loop Trail is a wonderful adventure in the Bay Area that offers a… Read More

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Presidio Ecology Trail

44. Presidio Ecology Trail
Difficulty

1.7mi 249ft 0.5-1h

The Presidio Ecology Trail is a wonderful adventure in Presidio Park that boasts an incredible… Read More

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Mount Sutro to Twin Peaks Hike Map

45. Mount Sutro to Twin Peaks Hike
Difficulty

3.8mi 856ft 2-2.5h

Located in an urban setting, the Mount Sutro to Twin Peaks Hike offers the opportunity… Read More

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Creeks to Peaks Trail

46. Creeks to Peaks Trail
Difficulty

3.8mi 725ft 1.5-2.5h

With a catchy name like the ‘Creeks to Peaks Trail’, how could you not be… Read More

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Ocean Beach Hike

47. Ocean Beach Hike
Difficulty

6.4mi 167ft 2-3h

The Ocean Beach Hike is a local favorite—and for good reason. Meander the shoreline path… Read More

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Presidio and Baker Beach Loop Hike

48. Presidio and Baker Beach Loop Hike
Difficulty

5.4mi 614ft 2-3h

Beckoning the exploration of international visitors, the Presidio and Baker Beach Loop Hike is a… Read More

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John McLaren Park Loop Hike Map

49. John McLaren Park Loop Hike
Difficulty

1.2mi 125ft 0.5h

The John McLaren Park Loop Hike is a family-friendly adventure in San Francisco that boasts… Read More

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Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Hike

50. Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Hike
Difficulty

4.2mi 203ft 1.5-2h

Wander across the world-famous suspension bridge along the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Hike. This… Read More

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Pine Lake Loop Hike

51. Pine Lake Loop Hike
Difficulty

0.9mi 36ft 0.5h

The Pine Lake Loop Hike is a family-friendly adventure in San Francisco that offers the… Read More

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West Side and Brushy Peak Loop Hike

52. West Side and Brushy Peak Loop Hike
Difficulty

4.5mi 919ft 2-3h

The West Side and Brushy Peak Loop is an incredibly beautiful adventure near Livermore, CA.… Read More

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Anza Trail to Immigrant Point Overlook

53. Anza Trail to Immigrant Point Overlook
Difficulty

1.5mi 207ft 0.5-1h

The Anza Trail to Immigrant Point Overlook is the perfect adventure for those seeking epic… Read More

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Lands End to Golden Gate Bridge Hike

54. Lands End to Golden Gate Bridge Hike
Difficulty

4.4mi 659ft 2-2.5h

The Lands End to Golden Gate Bridge Hike is an epic one-way expedition that boasts… Read More

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Fort Point to Baker Beach Hike

55. Fort Point to Baker Beach Hike
Difficulty

3.9mi 794ft 2-2.5h

The Fort Point to Baker Beach Hike is a pleasant coastal trail that wanders atop… Read More

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Cliff House Hike

56. Cliff House Hike
Difficulty

1.2mi 200ft 0.5h

Indulge yourself in wonderful coastal views along the Cliff House Hike. This lovely shoreline path… Read More

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Fairy Gates Trail Map

57. Fairy Gates Trail
Difficulty

0.6mi 167ft 0.5h

The Rose Valley Falls Hike boasts an enchanting experience in San Francisco. Explore the Mount… Read More

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Ferry Building to Ocean Beach Hike

58. Ferry Building to Ocean Beach Hike
Difficulty

12.2mi 899ft 4-6h

The Ferry Building to Ocean Beach Hike is an amazing on-way adventure along the coastline—offering… Read More

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Hippie Hill and Stow Lake Loop Hike Map

59. Hippie Hill and Stow Lake Loop Hike
Difficulty

3.8mi 240ft 1.5-2h

The Hippie Hill and Stow Lake Loop Hike boasts a magical experience in the Golden… Read More

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Lobos Creek Valley Path Hike Map

60. Lobos Creek Valley Path Hike
Difficulty

1.4mi 141ft 0.5h

The Lobos Valley Creek Path Hike is a lovely adventure in Presidio Park that hikers… Read More

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Echo Mountain via Sam Merrill Trail Map

61. Echo Mountain via Sam Merrill Trail
Difficulty

5.4mi 1,417ft 2.5-4h

The Echo Mountain via Sam Merrill Trail is a beautifully scenic adventure in the Angeles… Read More

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Mount San Antonio and Mount Baldy Notch Trail

62. Mount San Antonio and Mount Baldy Notch Trail
Difficulty

11.0mi 3,944ft 6.5-9h

The Mount San Antonio and Mount Baldy Notch Trail is a beautifully scenic, albeit physically… Read More

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Bridge to Nowhere via East Fork Trail

63. Bridge to Nowhere via East Fork Trail
Difficulty

9.5mi 1,247ft 4-5.5h

The hike to the Bridge to Nowhere via East Fork Trail is a fun little… Read More

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Lewis Falls Trail Map

64. Lewis Falls Trail
Difficulty

1.1mi 361ft 0.5-1h

Hiking the Lewis Falls Trail is a spectacular, if fairly short, adventure in the Angeles… Read More

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Cataract Falls Trail Map

65. Cataract Falls Trail
Difficulty

2.8mi 1,056ft 1.5-2.5h

Indulge yourself in the beauty of the lush Californian temperate forests along the Cataract Falls… Read More

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