Best Places to Hike in San Francisco – 10 Stunning Trails

The city by the bay is known world round for its many attractions and its laid back California lifestyle. Visitors can do everything from driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to visiting Alcatraz to eating authentic Chinese in China-Town. However, many people don’t know that San Francisco is home to a wide variety of stunning hiking trails that are just as beautiful as the city itself. Here’s a rundown of the best places to hike in San Francisco.

The 10 Best Places to Hike in San Fransisco

1. Lands End Trail

Lands End Trail, one of the best places to hike in San Francisco

Out of all the trails in the city, this is one of the best places to hike in San Francisco. Located on the northwest side of the city, every turn provides yet another stunning view of everything from cypress and wildflowers to old shipwrecks to the ocean to the Golden Gate bridge. You can even explore Sutro Baths, the ruins of a salt-water pool owned by a millionaire in the olden days of the city.

2. Batteries to Bluffs Trail

Batteries to Bluffs Trail, San Francisco

If you are seeking the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the city, then the Batteries to Bluffs Trail should be your go to. You’ll weave your way up and down the California coastline taking in the epic views of the pacific ocean the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll have to climb a flight of stairs or two, but the views are well worth it.

3. Angel Island State Park

hiking down the Angel Island State Park, San Francisco

If you want to feel far from the city while staying close by, Angel Island State Park is one of the best places to hike in San Francisco. Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay and only accessible by ferry, Angel Island offers incredible views of the city and the bay and is a popular destination for cyclists, hikers, and campers

4. Mount Tamalpais State Park

woman walking down the Mount Tamalpais State Park trail

Out of the best places to hike in San Francisco, few trails can live up to the popularity and stunning scenery of Mount Tamalpais State Park. Located north of the city across the Golden Gate Bridge, this park provides a wide variety of trails. While there are plenty of trails in the area, the most scenic is the 7-mile Dispea-Steep Ravine-Matt Davis Loop Trail.

Starting at the expansive Stinson beach, this trail winds through the coastal hills passing through redwoods and greenery along the way. From the fantastic views of the ocean to the stunning waterfalls, a hike at Mount Tamalpais will never be forgotten.

5. Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument, California

If you don’t mind large crowds of tourists, then Muir Woods National Monument provides a great place to experience the beauty of one of the few remaining old-growth coast redwood stands in San Francisco. While there will probably be quite a few tourists on the main trail, it is easy to slip off and explore the stunning forest from one of the many side trails.

6. Palomarin Trailhead to Alamere Falls

Palomarin Trailhead to Alamere Falls

It’s easy to tell that a trail is good when you have to arrive early just to get parking. Located north of the city, Palomarin Trailhead to Alamere Falls is a classic and is truly one of the best places to hike in San Francisco. You’ll walk along ocean bluffs and experience several waterfalls along the way. You’ll even get to see a rare natural sight, a tidefall that flows directly into the ocean. This hike isn’t the easiest, but it is more than worth every step. Also, be sure to watch out for the poison oak!

7. Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

If you are looking to experience the Redwood forest without the crowds, then Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the place for you. It is often less crowded than Muir Woods National Monument but still provides the chance to experience the beauty of the redwood forest firsthand. You’ll see everything from waterfalls to mushrooms to bright yellow banana slugs. If you’re looking for more than just a day-hike, you can also explore the 30-mile Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail which takes hikers from the hills of Castle Rock State Park to Big Basin to the ocean at Waddell Beach.

8. Tennessee Valley

Tennessee Valley trail on a sunny day

A quick drive across the Golden Gate Bridge into the Marin Headlines provides a bevy of options for hikers of all skill levels to enjoy. One of the most popular trails is the Tennessee Valley Trail. It is a relatively easy 3.4-mile loop which provides hikers views of a lake in the hills and a secluded beach along the coastline.

9. Mount Diablo

Mount Diablo trail, San Francisco

At one of the highest elevations in the Bay Area, Mount Diablo is one of the more popular best places to hike in San Francisco. At 3,849-feet reaching the summit is no joke and provides one of the best views in all of San Francisco. There are several trails to explore which offer views of waterfalls, wildlife, and wildflowers. There are mountain lions in the area, so be sure to watch out and stay safe!

10. Portola Redwoods State Park

Portola Redwoods State Park, California

Last but not least on this list of the best places to hike in San Francisco is Portola Redwoods State Park. Located south of the city in La Honda, Portola allows you to get lost deep in the redwood forest. The area feels completely untouched by human hands and allows you to experience the natural beauty of coastal California.

That sums up the list of the top 10 places to go hiking in San Francisco. The area offers everything from coastal mountains to redwoods forests to spectacular views of the city itself. San Francisco is truly a magnificent city and its hiking trails are not an exception. Where have you hiked in San Francisco? Feel free to share your experiences and add to the list of the best places to hike in the Bay Area.

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