These hikes will take your breath away both literally and figuratively.
It’s not hard to find some incredible views in the Bay Area but, like many things, the best ones require a little work. Luckily, San Franciscans have a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to places to soak in the beauty of nature. And no time is better than the present to plan a nice hike through the wilderness, especially with the kind of views that await you at the end.
Here are five hikes with killer views of the Bay Area. If nothing else, do it for the ‘gram!
Lands End (Golden Gate National Recreation Area)
Located on the northwest tip of San Francisco, this spot offers gorgeous views of the Sutro Baths, China Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a lovely family-friendly hike that isn’t too strenuous, but visitors should note that there are stairs to be climbed. The Coastal Trail will take you through cypress trees, open grasses and beautiful wildflowers to see the rockiest corner of the city, where you can see 30 miles up and down the coast. For an extra little surprise, turn off of the Coastal Trail and follow the signs to Mile Rock Beach to find the famed stone labyrinth created by artist Eduardo Aguilera in 2004.
Hike: 3-4 miles roundtrip
Where: San Francisco
Mission Peak is an unforgettable hike that rewards visitors with stunning 360 degree views of the Bay Area. Hikers that make the steep trek up to its 2,517-foot summit also, of course, make it a point to take a few selfies with the legendary ‘Mission Peeker,’ a monument in the form of a six-foot pole with a bunch of sighting tubes pointing in different directions. The sculptor behind the monument installed it as a way to help people connect with the environment and to promote awareness. There’s also a little surprise inside: the pole is currently home to a time capsule that isn’t scheduled to be opened until 2090. Even aside from the great photo op, the view that awaits you at the end of this hike will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
Hike: 6 miles roundtrip
Where: South Bay (Fremont)
This hike is no walk in the park, but it is totally worth the work. Mount Diablo is the East Bay’s highest peak, presenting those determined hikers with some of the best panoramic views the Bay Area has to offer. The Summit Trail is a great spot for hiking, running and bird watching, and is filled with miles of beautiful mountain wildflowers. The trek is somewhat arduous, so come prepared with lots of water and snacks – and hiking boots are a definite must here. Visitors should note that there is a small fee to enter the park.
Hike: about 14 miles roundtrip
Where: East Bay
Alamere Falls (Point Reyes National Seashore)
‘Falls’ says it all – this hike ends with an inimitable waterfall as a reward for all your hard work. There are three main trailheads for this hike, the shortest and most frequented of which being Palomarin (the others are Bear Valley and Five Brooks). Take the Coast Trail towards Wildcat Camp through dense coastal forests and past freshwater lakes until you reach the beach entrance, where you’ll walk south just over another mile to reach the 40-foot tidefall. An adventurous hike that ends with an exfoliating walk through the sand – if that’s not self care, we don’t know what is! Visitors heading down to the beach should make sure to time their visit during low tide.
Hike: about 14 miles roundtrip
Mussel Rock Trail
This hike is probably the most lowkey route on our list. It’s suitable for all skill levels and is an amazing spot to catch some breathtaking sunsets. Check out the wildlife or sit back and watch local thrill-seekers launch their paragliders from the cliffs. This trail also heads down to the beach, giving hikers time to breathe in the fresh ocean air and dig their toes into the sand (head down at low tide).
Hike: about 2 miles (loop trail)
Where: Daly City
[Featured image: @a.backyard.adventure]