The holiday season is quickly rushing towards us – which means that before you know it you’ll be eating, drinking, and celebrating non-stop. But before indulging in the carb-fest, ensure you lace up your shoes and get moving. Make some time for wellness and preemptively burn off those inevitable calories with one of five gorgeous San Francisco hikes – all within San Francisco’s city limits, which means no car required.
This is definitely one of the most special hikes in the city – it tops our list and if you can only choose one hike, Land’s End should be it. You can start off by taking in the fresh ocean air while exploring the historic Sutro baths, make your way through the Cypress groves and continue onto the trail that winds along the ruggedly beautiful coastline. Your efforts will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. Bonus: you might spy shipwrecks at low-tide or even the Farallon Islands if it’s a clear day.
Batteries to Bluffs Trail
Experience the lush western shoreline of the Presidio and a unique perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge by taking the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. We recommend starting at Crissy Field, where you can grab a coffee and wind your way up the stairs (signs will mark Battery East Trail), and then pass right underneath the Golden Gate Bridge to come out and explore the cliffs and historic gun batteries bordering the Pacific Ocean. This trail offers stunning views of the bridge, the bay, and Marin Valley to the north – but note that the trail is marked moderate because there are several places with steps and some climbing involved if you decide to take the side trip down to Marshall Beach. If possible, save this hike for the end of the day to enjoy a long sunset over the ocean and the charming lights of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Mt. Sutro Cloud Forest
Sometimes you just need to be amongst the trees. A perfect place to practice “Shinrin-yoku” (the Japanese art and science of forest-bathing) is the Mt. Sutro Cloud Forest, a gorgeous 100-year-old, misty, enchanted cloud forest. You’ll see huge eucalyptus groves, hear birdsong and leaves rustling, and discover a sunny meadow at the top of the hill. It’s especially soothing on a foggy day – the ethereal mist intertwining through the tops of the trees towering overhead as you walk the fresh forest trails. Connect with nature at its finest.
Bernal Heights Summit
If city views with a side of heart-pumping adrenaline are more what you’re after, head to Bernal Hill and hike up one of the many paved or dirt paths leading to the summit. Especially interesting and gorgeous cityscapes of the Mission and neighborhoods west of Bernal Heights await you. These views are unlike any other so bring a green juice or a healthy lunch and spend some time soaking it all in at the top!
The most urban hike on our list, offering absolutely killer 360-degree views of SF. The two “Twin Peaks” rise to roughly 922 feet making them the second highest point in the city (Mount Davidson is the highest.) The peaks are located right in the city’s geographical center – giving them their super unique perspective. Also notable is the fact that you can spot the Twin Peaks from almost anywhere around town – the gigantic, distinctive TV Tower atop one of them is practically an SF landmark. Conquer this hike and you’ll feel on top of the world, or at least San Francisco.