My favorite San Francisco hikes

Mount Davidson

As part of a semi-successful campaign to get more exercise, S and I have been exploring some of San Francisco's gorgeous parks, guided by the Bold Italic's very helpful list.

My parents are visiting us in San Francisco (yay!) for the first time since we moved here and I'm hoping to drag them to at least a couple of these. I thought I'd share a few of our favorites for those of you in the area or who may travel to the Bay Area (come visit!).


Mount Davidson

This is my favorite hike so far -- possibly because the day we did it was so fantastically foggy and misty that it felt like we were in a rain forest. This also happens to be the hike (and the photo, above), that inspired my Mount Davidson painting series.

The park is a densely wooded hill with narrow trails winding around it to the top. At the top is a massive concrete cross, now a memorial for the Armenian genocide.

When we went, it was so foggy that looking out from the view points was a bit tough, but I'm guessing there are some fantastic views. :)

Mount Davidson


Fort Funston

This is a sandy ocean-side walk great for dog-watching (please tell me I'm not the only one who does that) and exploring the dunes. You can wander around on the cliffs above the sea or headed on down to the beach.

Fort Funston


Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is a long stretch of sandy beach, just north of Fort Funston. It's really popular with surfers, but also great for jogging along the shore or biking along the boardwalk.

I don't want this to be too deceptive, as I took this photo on a beautiful sunny day, but this beach is usually great for hoodied emo walks in the fog. :)


Inspiration Point

The Presido is large forested area just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. It has some beautiful wide trails through the Eucalyptus forest and little pockets of old army barracks -- now converted into cute cottages and apartments.

Inspiration Point is a nice place to start the hike. It has a small parking lot with maps of the area and a great view of the Bay, Alcatraz, and downtown San Francisco. Across the street near the golf course driveway is a trail that winds past an Andy Goldsworthy sculpture, through the forests, and eventually emerges at the Golden Gate Bridge viewing point.


Land's End

Contrary to what my New England upbringing would led me to believe, this is not an outlet store of plaid and work boots. Instead, it's a beautiful hike along the Northwest corner of the city, beginning at the Pacific and meandering around to views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Near the start of the trail, you can hike down to Sutro Baths -- the eerie ruins of a 20th century bath house. I haven't actually made it down to the sea level, but it's definitely on my list!

Land's End

For those of you in San Francisco, do you have any other hikes to recommend? I'd love some more recommendations for places to explore!

xo Diana

Topics: travels
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