The San Francisco Guide to Hiking (For Non Hikers)

Here goes my unofficial guide to hiking when all you really want to do is sit down and have brunch.

1. Lands End Trail

This is my favorite hike to take tourists visiting the city (because it’s by far the most impressive). Walking through windswept Monterey pines above the breaking waves feels magical. To start, take an uber to the Legion of Honor or park somewhere close by and find the entrance to the coastal trail. You’ll have views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean and it’s not uncommon to spot a whale or two :)

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Once you reach the Sutro Baths, there are a few ways to reward yourself for working up a sweat! While Cliff House has great views (and lots of tourists) Louis’ is somewhat of a local secret - it has an 82 year old history serving up the absolute best diner food in the city. Louis’s serves excellent (organically sourced) eggs, milkshakes and salads and has the best view in the world. You can also make a stop in a very Wes Anderson inspired giant Camera.

No. 2 Marin Headlands

This is the classic Golden Gate bridge hike. We promise we won’t judge you if you take a million selfies (even the most jaded of San Fransciscan does) because it is the most instagrammable hike in San Francisco. Aside from giving you great views of the city, the green rolling hills are pretty breathtaking.

Insider Tip: Skip walking across the golden gate bridge, it’s often super windy, there is lots of traffic and it’s prettier once you get to the other side.

No. 3 Angel Island

The largest island in San Francsico Bay, Angel Island is part of the state park system. A $20 round trip ferry ticket will get you to this quiet little spot just outside of the bustling city. You can pick up some “ferry juice” at the wine shop prior to setting off on your adventure (or there is a bar on the boat).

Angel Island Ferry Schedule

Most people who visit Angel Island hike the perimeter which allows for bikes but the North Ridge trail is better for those who want a little solitude. Insider Tip: The weather changes in a moment on the bay so come prepared with a jacket even if it’s sunny.

No. 4 Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate park is massive but we love the Strawberry Hill hike which is located at the summit of the island in Stow Lake. Once you park near Stow Lake Drive you will have to hike up the various trails that lead to the summit.

Perfect for the laziest hiker, you can make this hike as long or short as you want!

No. 5 Twin Peaks

Twin peaks is the most popular hike in San Francisco. It’s right in the city and you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views and possibly mimosas. It’s a relatively easy climb but it can be a little crowded - in fact some of the locals skip the Christmas tree entrance and instead head over to Eureka Peak to miss the tourists

Grab your mimosa at Starbelly after.

After your hike head over to the Castro, which is famous for being one of the first LGBTQ neighborhoods in the world. Make sure you grab a glass of wine at Starbelly.

No. 6 The Presidio

So this is really more of a “walk” than a hike but I think it counts. This 1,500 acre park is filled with beautiful ocean overlooks and tree lined paths. It was once a military post, and the red roofed barracks have now been converted to everything from restaurants to spas. Begin at the Presidio Gate (Presidio Blvd & Pacific) and make your way to Lovers lane which has a zig zag art installation and is the most picturesque trails in the city.

Lovers Lane

Finish your hike at Aguarello which is inside the Presidio Officers' Club which serves up some of the best Mexican food in the city. Insider tip: the Lucas film office is close by, go stop by the Yoda fountain!

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