You’ll appreciate these amazing treks since they give you a chance to stretch your legs and aren’t too difficult, whether you’re searching for a short walk in the city or a more demanding day trip in Marin. Take a break from your regular activities to smell the salty sea air and take in the sights of the city that you like. Here are the best San Francisco hikes with great views recommended by the proud locals:
Golden Gate Park Loop
This is an easy stroll that may begin or end at any point, so be sure to plan ahead for some picture opportunities. For good reason, Golden Gate Park is often ranked as one of the most popular parks in the United States. The California Academy of Sciences, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, the deYoung Museum, and many other notable attractions are all located here.
Glen Canyon Park
Glen Canyon Park, which is situated in the middle of San Francisco, is home to a nearly two-mile circle route that is suitable for hikers of varying experience levels. Not only does the route provide stunning, high vistas of San Francisco, but it is also welcoming to both families with dogs and families with children. Your trek will take you past steep slopes, densely forested regions, and open meadows, giving you the impression that you are completely immersed in nature. In addition to that, the path offers breathtaking panoramas that sweep out over the city.
Hiking this walk in the spring, when wildflowers begin to bloom in the regions that surround the trail, is highly recommended as the finest time to do it.
Gerbode Valley Loop Trail
If you’re searching for a trek that will test your abilities, the Marin Headlands provide a scenic track that loops across the area and is a good option. The ascent of 900 feet will cause you to break a sweat while rewarding you with panoramic vistas of the vegetation that surrounds you.
Presidio Loop Trail
The Presidio is now one of the most well-known parks in San Francisco, yet it was once a U.S. military installation. Take enjoy breathtaking vistas of the coastline, see sculptural works created by Anthony Goldsworth, and do much more. Hungry? It is highly recommended that you make your way to the Main Post of the Presidio, where you will not only be able to grab something to eat but also get directions.
Land’s End Trail
The breathtaking panoramas of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge may be seen from the Land’s End Trail, which is quite popular. The remnants of a public swimming pool that date back to 1896 may be found at the end of this climb that is considered to be moderately difficult. You may choose a path that is easier to reach along the Golden Gate Promenade, and while you’re there, you can capture some amazing photographs.
Mount Davidson Trail Loop
The circular route may only be a short distance, but it is well worth the trip if you want to view the highest point in the city, which is crowned with a massive cross. Experience magnificent 360-degree views of San Francisco’s landscape from the city’s geographic core.
A helpful hint: There are no signs on the trails in this region, so be sure to walk slowly and stay on the apparent path portions.
Point Bonita Lighthouse Trail
This is an ideal outing for the whole family since it is just a short distance down to the lighthouse. Keep an eye out for the curious harbor seals and the breathtaking scenery of Bonita Cove. If you arrive at the correct time, you may even be able to go inside the lighthouse, which is notable for being the last-staffed lighthouse in the state of California.
The breathtaking cliff views at Mori Point in Pacifica are not to be missed if you find yourself in the southern part of the city. This is a hike that is great for families and has some amazing bluffs that are perfect for learning about geology and erosion. Bring a jacket with you since the wind might pick up at any time!
South Headlands Loop
The South Headlands Loop is considered to be one of the best walks in the San Francisco area by the locals. This hiking path may be found in Marin Headlands, a beautiful park that can be reached from San Francisco by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. The South Headlands Loop is a little more difficult than the other trails because of its length (almost 8 miles) and the diversity of rocky coastal terrain that it passes over. You’ll be able to see some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown San Francisco, and the seashore from the route. You have the option of driving there and parking nearby, as well as taking an Uber there.
Muir Woods Trail
The Muir Woods Trail is one of the most well-known hiking paths in the Muir Woods National Monument area. This is due to the fact that it offers a breathtaking view of the expansive Redwood woods that are found in this region of Northern California. Muir Woods Trail is an excellent place to visit during a road trip in California, especially if you are traveling in a group with people of varying levels of expertise because it is family-friendly and somewhat flat.
Trails that are both heavily forested and well-groomed may be found in this area, and they are suitable for hikers of varying experience levels. It is important to note that in order to access the trail area, you will either need to purchase a National Parks Pass or pay a day entry cost.
It is possible to get to Muir Woods National Monument from the downtown area of San Francisco by either driving or using a bus. Please be aware that there is a fee that must be paid in order to access Muir Woods.
Driving is by far the most convenient mode of transportation to choose while going to Tomales Bay Park. Tomales Point, which can be found in the vicinity of Point Reyes National Seashore, is, in our view, one of the most breathtaking sites to go trekking in the San Francisco Bay Region and the surrounding area. This Point Reyes National Seashore trek is not only tough enough to give you good exercise, but it also offers some of the most breathtaking vistas of the coastline in the world. Tomales Point and the surroundings around it are home to a wide variety of native flora and fauna, such as elk and bright spring wildflowers, in addition to offering breathtaking vistas.
In the warmer months of the year, some portions of the route may become overgrown; thus, it is recommended that you protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and trousers that reach your ankles.
Alamere Falls Trail
Driving is the most convenient mode of transportation to choose from while traveling from San Francisco to Point Reyes National Seashore. The Alamere Falls Trail is one of the most well-known trails in Northern California. It is a beachfront trail that is somewhat long, but it is well worth the effort since it leads to a breathtaking sight of Alamere Falls plunging into the ocean from the top of a rocky bluff. The path is well defined and travels along the shore of the Pacific Ocean while looping past a number of vantage spots that look out over the surrounding mountains and lakes. At the very end of the path, there is a point of entry to the beach that is completely optional; nevertheless, this access point may be rather steep and slick, so continue at your own risk and with care!
What to Bring for Hiking Near San Francisco?
- Clothing designed for hiking that is breathable
When hiking in warmer weather, you’ll want to wear a shirt that wicks perspiration and trousers that allow air to circulate, such as these Patagonia hiking shorts for men and women. We advise wearing many layers of clothing while hiking in cold weather. These layers should include a baselayer made of merino wool for men and women, a down puffer jacket for men and women, and a waterproof outer shell made by North Face for men and women. And don’t forget to bring a pair of the most comfortable hiking socks you can find, whether you’re a man or a woman!
- Trekking poles
While you probably won’t use them for every single trip, it’s a good idea to have them in your vehicle just in case. We suggest using the Black Diamond Trail Ergo cork trekking poles since they are not only robust but also lightweight and simple to travel.
- Water bottle
Having water readily accessible at all times is an absolute need, thus you should always carry one. Bring your own water bottle that can be refilled, since this will help reduce the amount of single-use plastic that is used. Because they can maintain a chilly temperature for a significant amount of time, we are completely infatuated with Hydro Flask water bottles.
- Sunscreen and insect spray
Sunscreen that is sweatproof and bug spray that contains DEET may help you prevent becoming sunburned and being bitten by bugs, two of the most bothersome after-effects of going hiking. Sun Bum is our go-to sunscreen of choice since it is devoid of harmful chemicals and is completely safe for marine life, including coral reefs.
- A hat or cap with a brim
Because the sun may be intense on open treks, it is important to always have a hat or cap with a brim while going on day hikes in the sunlight.
- First-aid kit and emergency blanket
We can’t stress enough how important it is to always carry along a first-aid kit as well as a compact emergency blanket whenever you go hiking. Why? Since it is impossible to predict what will occur, the wisest course of action is to constantly err on the side of caution.
- Daypack with lasting durability
One of the best places to store all of your hiking stuff is inside a daypack with lasting durability. Although any backpack will suffice, we suggest the Osprey Talon 22-day pack or the Tempest 20-day pack for lengthy trips since they are comfortable and allow air to circulate within the bag. Check out our post on the best day packs to use in every terrain for further information.