10 Breathtaking Local Hikes To Do In San Francisco And Beyond

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

10 Breathtaking Local Hikes To Do In San Francisco And Beyond

In the Bay Area, a beautiful view is always right around the corner.

Whether you’re looking for a quick stroll in the city or a more strenuous day hike in Marin, you’ll love these incredible hikes for a chance to stretch your legs. Take a break from your routine to breathe in some fresh ocean air and admire the city you love. 


1. Land’s End Trail 


The immensely popular Land’s End Trail offers dramatic views of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. This moderate hike will take you to the Sutro Baths, the ruins of a public swimming pool dating back to 1896. You can take a more accessible route along the Golden Gate Promenade and snap some incredible photos along the way.


2. Presidio Loop Trail


Once a U.S. military base, the Presidio is one of San Francisco’s most iconic parks. Enjoy stunning views of the coast, sculptural installations by Anthony Goldsworth, and much more. Hungry? Be sure to stop at the Presidio’s Main Post, where you can get a bite to eat and point yourself in the right direction. 


3. Golden Gate Park Loop


You can start or stop this easy walk at any point, so be sure to plan for some photo ops. Golden Gate Park is one of the United States’ most visited parks, and for good reason. It’s home to the California Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, deYoung Museum, and much more.



4. Mount Davidson Trail Loop


This loop trail may be short, but it’s worth a visit to see the highest point in the city, topped with an enormous cross. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from the geographic center of San Francisco.



5. Gerbode Valley Loop Trail 


If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, try heading to the Marin Headlands for this picturesque loop trail. With 900 feet of climbing, you’ll work up a sweat while enjoying expansive views of the surrounding greenery.



6. Point Bonita Lighthouse Trail


This short trip down to the lighthouse is perfect for the family. Look out for playful harbor seals and exciting views of Bonita Cove. And if the timing is right, you can even step inside the lighthouse, which was the last manned lighthouse in California.

7. Cataract Falls


Marin County is home to some of the best hikes in the Bay Area, and Cataract Falls doesn’t disappoint. The entire route is dotted with cascading waterfalls, so you’ll make a new discovery around every corner.


8. Mori Point


If you’re on the south end of the city, Mori Point in Pacifica is a must-see for dramatic cliff views.  This is a family-friendly route featuring amazing bluffs for a study in geology and erosion. Bring a jacket because it can get windy!


9. Mission Peak


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.


10. Mount Diablo

14 mi/22.5km

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.


Featured Image: Instagram / @where_is_will


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