Did you know there are tons of hiking spots near San Francisco? It’s true! Even if you love city life, you might also enjoy getting out into nature every now and then. San Francisco has many options for leisurely hiking, fun in the sun, strenuous hikes, and everything in between. This article shares some of the best local trails near SF. And they’re all within walking distance, a bus ride, or a short drive from the city limits.
Lands End Trail
At the northwestern edge of San Francisco, you’ll find Lands End Trail. It’s adjacent to the Sea Cliff neighborhood, is easy to reach, and has plenty of parking. This trail offers great hiking near San Francisco’s busy neighborhoods and is less crowded than other parks and trails in SF. To begin your hike, start along the walkway above Cliff House. It will take you through the woods and along the edge of the bluffs. For the most part, the trail is a flat dirt path with some rocks and a few steep stairways. The majority of the trail is easy, with a few difficult patches. In total, the trail takes one-and-a-half miles to complete. While walking the trail, you’ll observe some of the most stunning and unobstructed views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. When you reach the point on the trail called Lands End, you can stop here to take in more views or for a snack break. After that, you can visit the labyrinth with a lovely backdrop of San Francisco Bay. You can bring your dog with you on this trail. But, it’s advised to leash them due to the steepness of cliffs at certain parts of the trail. Bikes are also allowed on the western side of the park.
Hiking near San Francisco is not only possible, but it’s also convenient because of the many nearby trails. One such trail is Ecology Trail, located in the Presidio area of SF. It’s a one-and-a-half mile loop where you can spot wildflowers and bring your dog along for some exercise. While walking along the trail, you can take a slight detour off the loop and stop at Inspiration Point. From here, you’ll see views of Alcatraz Island, the Bay, and downtown San Francisco. Part of this trail takes you through wooded areas, while other areas contain open grass fields, along with some picnic tables.
Muir Woods: Canopy View Trail
Located only 12 miles from the city of San Francisco is Muir Woods National Monument. Within the monument, there are several hiking trails. Muir Woods is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This area is best known for its redwood tree forests, which are some of the tallest trees around. Many of the trails at this park have asphalt or boarded paths. Yet, the trails located on the canyon walls are dirt paved and have steep and narrow paths.
If you prefer fewer crowds on your hike, the Canopy View Trail is a good option for you. Park maps might refer to this trail as the Ocean View Trail. You’re going the right way if you see steps leading up the east side of the canyon. Along your walk, tall redwood trees will surround you. After a little more than a mile, you’ll get to the highest part of the loop which is where the junction of the Lost Trail is. Take the Lost Trail until you see signs for the Fern Creek Trail. While on the Fern Creek Trail, you’ll come across a bridge, built right above a fallen log. After walking over the bridge, take a left-hand turn and follow the Redwood Creek Trail downstream. Soon you’ll be back at the main trail, near the visitors center, which concludes the loop trail. Although Muir Woods and the Canopy View Trail are great for hikers, park rules state that pets, bicycles, and smoking are not allowed.
Angel Island is situated 25 minutes north of San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. You can reach the island by ferry, which leaves Pier 41 several times per day. When you arrive at the island there are a few hiking trails. One of them is Perimeter Trail. It got this name because the five-and-a-half mile loop takes hikers on a complete loop around the perimeter of the island. So, while hiking you’re offered wonderful views of San Francisco’s Bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge. The trail is also open to bikers. So, if you prefer to bike rather than hike, you can rent a bicycle once you arrive on the island. Although the trail is nicely paved, there are some steep hill climbs that total 350 feet in elevation gain.
Another hiking option for you while visiting Angel Island is the Mt. Livermore hike. The peak of Mt. Livermore reaches 788 feet and has views that span the entire island and the Bay. Even though this hike can be difficult because of the steep climb, the views are unbeatable. When hiking this trail you have two different routes to choose from. The first one follows the Sunset trail. From the cove of the island to the peak of the hill, it’s about three miles in distance. Alternatively, you can reach the top of the peak by taking the North Ridge trail. It’s about three-and-a-half miles with the same elevation gain, yet this route begins with 144 steps going straight up. While hiking down from the peak, you can change routes if you prefer, because the two trails intersect about a third of a mile down.
Hiking is an activity that is not only fun but helps get you fit, too. But sometimes we underestimate how difficult and exhausting a hike can be. And we may come home from a hike sore and tired. This is where having an apartment, such as one from Blueground, can benefit those sore muscles. Many of Blueground’s apartments in San Francisco offer building amenities, such as jacuzzi hot tubs and saunas. What a perfect way to end your day of outdoor fitness, by restoring your body in a relaxing hot tub or sauna!