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    San Francisco

    Hikes in San Francisco

    Region in California, United States

    San Francisco Hikes

    San Francisco Hikes are a wonderful way to experience the Bay Area, offering up iconic views that can't be found anywhere else in the world. 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 San Francisco hikes 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 San Francisco hikes 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 challenging San Francisco hikes, 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 San Francisco hikes 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 San Francisco hikes are perfect for families or those looking for easy, low-key trails; however, the Bay 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 hikes offer access to an outdoor playground and have 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 is one of the magical San Francisco hikes that present 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.

    With that being said, we love San Francisco hikes 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 San Francisco 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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    Best Hikes in San Francisco

    Showing 21 to 40 of 65
      Open details for Coyote Peak and Ridge Trail Loop

      Coyote Peak and Ridge Trail Loop

      Easy
      6.1 km
      215 m
      1.5-2.5h

      The Coyote Peak and Ridge Trail Loop is a wonderful day hike near San José that can be enjoyed by hikers and bikers of all skill levels and ages. Wander through flowering meadows to an epic overlook of Silicon Valley.

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      Open details for Lands End Trail

      Lands End Trail

      Easy
      5.5 km
      164 m
      1.5-2h

      Those visiting or new to the Bay Area must explore the Lands End Trail. This wonderful route traces the dramatic coastline, offering glimpses of playful seals enjoying the water and mesmerizing views of the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

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      Open details for Año Nuevo Point Trail

      Año Nuevo Point Trail

      Easy
      6.6 km
      63 m
      1.5-2h

      The Año Nuevo Point Trail is a wonderful adventure that the whole family can enjoy. Meander along the edge of the coastal bluffs, catching glimpses of playful elephant seals below! Enjoy the amazing scenery whilst getting your steps in!

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      Open details for Rodeo Beach Trail

      Rodeo Beach Trail

      Very Easy
      2.3 km
      12 m
      0.5h

      The Rodeo Beach Trail is a lovely shoreline walk along the Pacific that boasts wonderful maritime views. Perfect for dog-owners and suffers, you and your four-legged friend can wander along the pebbly shoreline just a rock’s throw away from San Francisco.

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      Open details for Dipsea Trail

      Dipsea Trail

      Hard
      15.6 km
      836 m
      5-7h

      The Dipsea Trail is an enchanting adventure through temperate redwood forests, lush coastal prairies, and along the dramatic headlands. Compared to most hikes in the area this route demands some stamina—so pack plenty of water and snacks to stay fueled.

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      Open details for Golden Gate and Pacific Overlook Hike

      Golden Gate and Pacific Overlook Hike

      Very Easy
      1.1 km
      8 m
      0.5h

      The Golden Gate and Pacific Overlook Hike is a magical adventure that hikers of all skill levels and ages can enjoy. Indulge yourself in mesmerizing vistas of the Pacific, the Marin Headlands, and of course—the Golden Gate Bridge.

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      Open details for Bay to Breakers Route

      Bay to Breakers Route

      Moderate
      12.1 km
      112 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Bay to Breakers Race is the oldest consecutively run footrace in the world—though not all of us have the opportunity to participate in real-time. Experience the charm of this footrace by walking the same route. Explore the city center and imagine the crowds cheering you on.

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      Open details for Batteries to Bluffs Trail

      Batteries to Bluffs Trail

      Very Easy
      3.5 km
      137 m
      1-1.5h

      The Batteries to Bluffs Trail is unrivaled in its scenery—offering wonderful vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, the pristine sandy beaches, and the crashing surf. This epic adventure can be enjoyed by hikers of all skill levels and ages year-round.

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      Open details for Golden Gate Bridge via Baker Beach Trail

      Golden Gate Bridge via Baker Beach Trail

      Moderate
      9.5 km
      209 m
      2.5-3h

      The Golden Gate Bridge via Baker Beach Trail is an epic excursion in San Francisco that offers a diversity of scenery, including several historic batteries, epic coastal views, and of course—the Golden Gate Bridge. When in the Bay Area this route is a must add to your itinerary.

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      Open details for Seal Rocks Beach Trail

      Seal Rocks Beach Trail

      Easy
      3.7 km
      119 m
      1-1.5h

      The Seal Rocks Beach Trail is a wonderful adventure in the Bay Area that boasts wonderful vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge, the crashing surf, and distant views of the Marin Headlands. This family-friendly trail is worth adding to your hiking itinerary.

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      Open details for Mount Sutro Loop

      Mount Sutro Loop

      Moderate
      3.2 km
      151 m
      1-1.5h

      The Mount Sutro Loop is an excellent trail through a lush open space near UCSF. This lovely adventure boasts the opportunity to escape the chaos of the urban setting and reconnect with nature without having to leave city limits.

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      Open details for San Francisco Bay Trail: Foster City

      San Francisco Bay Trail: Foster City

      Moderate
      16.7 km
      32 m
      3-4.5h

      The San Francisco Bay Trail: Foster City is a wonderful path along the bay that can be enjoyed by adventurers of all sorts. Hike, bike, or run along the shoreline, watching the planes land at the nearby airport along the way.

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      Open details for San Francisco Bay Trail: Richmond Inner Harbor

      San Francisco Bay Trail: Richmond Inner Harbor

      Moderate
      15.1 km
      27 m
      3-4h

      The San Francisco Bay Trail: Richmond Inner Harbor is an excellent adventure ideal for explorers of all ages and skill levels. Walk, run or bike along the shoreline, reveling in the inspiring views of the San Francisco cityscape, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and more.

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      Open details for Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Golden Gate Bridge

      Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Golden Gate Bridge

      Very Easy
      2.7 km
      73 m
      0.5-1h

      The Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-add to your Bay Area itinerary. This one-way route spans the length of the world’s most famous bridge, boasting amazing scenes of the cityscape, the bay, Alcatraz, and more.

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      Open details for Ecology Trail and Lovers’ Lane Loop

      Ecology Trail and Lovers’ Lane Loop

      Very Easy
      3.2 km
      90 m
      1h

      Get outside into the fresh air along the Ecology Trail and Lovers’ Lane Loop. This lovely adventure through the wilderness exhibits the diversity of the area’s flora, including blooming wildflowers, redwoods, and palms.

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      Open details for Filbert Steps to Telegraph Hill Hike

      Filbert Steps to Telegraph Hill Hike

      Easy
      0.8 km
      80 m
      0.5h

      The Filbert Steps to Telegraph Hill Hike is an amazing urban adventure that boasts wonderful views of the Bay Area from atop Telegraph Hill. Meander up the vertiginous staircase through a neighborhood bound by lush gardens and charming houses.

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      Open details for Sutro Heights Loop

      Sutro Heights Loop

      Very Easy
      1.0 km
      5 m
      0.5h

      The Sutro Heights Loop is a short and scenic shoreline adventure that offers wonderful views of the ocean and the historic Sutro Baths. Once a privately owned saltwater swimming pool complex, the remains at the site are limited to the main pool along the coast.

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      Open details for Lands End and Sutro Baths Trail

      Lands End and Sutro Baths Trail

      Very Easy
      1.3 km
      43 m
      0.5h

      The Lands End and Sutro Baths Trail boasts an unforgettable experience that the whole family can enjoy. Meander atop the coastal bluffs and explore the ruins of the Sutro Baths, enjoying mesmerizing views of the Golden Gate Bridge along the way.

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      Open details for Presidio Promenade Trail

      Presidio Promenade Trail

      Easy
      7.2 km
      129 m
      1.5-2.5h

      The Presidio Promenade Trail is a lovely adventure through a variety of terrains. Explore enchanting forests of redwoods and oaks, vibrant flowering meadows, and wander through charming San Francisco neighborhoods. Be sure to charge your camera as you will be rewarded with distant views of the Golden Gate Bridge!

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      Open details for Presidio Loop Trail

      Presidio Loop Trail

      Moderate
      9.8 km
      237 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Presidio Loop Trail is a wonderful adventure in the Bay Area that offers a diversity of scenery. Enjoy the best of both worlds as you wander through urban settings and greenspaces that exhibit the area’s variety of flora. This lovely hike packs a punch!

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