Hiking in San Francisco, especially during the fall season, is at its best. Mild weather, sunny days with just a drip of fog in the mornings, makes trekking around the city ideal. With a backpack of trail mix, fruit, protein bars and plenty of water, the sky’s the limit, well almost, for healthy hikers.
Land’s End Trail
A group of public trails known as the California Coastal Trails, not totally complete, exist along the 1200 mile coastline of California. A section of the coastal trail in San Francisco, Land’s End, encourages any amateur hiker to check out the scenic views. Begin the trek at the Golden Gate Bridge, which peaks out of the fog in the late morning then continue south pass the notorious Cliff House restaurant. On the way check out the Sutro Gardens, created in the 1880’s, with exotic flora and exquisite trees. The Golden Gate Bridge has no physical address, but can be reached by driving on the main throughway of San Francisco–Highway 101 North.
One of my favorite city hikes for panoramic views is Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill. Arriving at the tower is not for wimps. Starting at Filbert Street in the North Beach district, follow the steep hill towards the tower. If looking for quientessential San Francisco, this may be the spot. The tempermental bay, the TransAmerica building, and the most crooked street in the world, Lombard Street, can be viewed atop the tower. Once inside the tower, murals of local artists stain the walls with San Francisco history. The collection of art stems from artists who were given work after the Great Depression. Coit Tower can be found at 1 Telegrah Hill, San Francisco, California. Call the landmark tower at (415) 362-0808 for further information.
Boot Jack Loop at Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais is north of the Golden Gate Bridge pass Sausalito in Marin County. Known to locals as Mount Tam, the park holds close to 50 miles of trails. One of the most scenic is Boot jack Loop. The hike, mildly strenuous, covers 4 to 6 miles of redwood forest, grasslands and meadows. With its twists and turns, the trail provides picturesque views along the way. Boot Jack trail can be accessed 9 miles from Highway 101 North on the Alpine trailhead. There is a parking at the Pantoll Ranger Station a few feet from the Alpine Trailhead. Parking is 8 dollars. For questions regarding Mount Tam, call (800)777-0369. The 2,571 foot peak covers spectacular sights of the cityscape, the east bay and on a very clear day, the Farralon Isles, 25 miles away.
Sunset Trail Angel Island
Angel Island is the small island that guts out of the bay when viewing the San Francisco Bay. Once a fishing and hunting playground for the Miwok natives, it has since surfed the waves of time processing immigrants, once standing as a missile base and later used as a state park. The hike on Sunset Trail can put anyone in touch with nature. Oak, madrone and cypress trees are abundant throughout the trail. Wild flowers thrive and diverse bird life plays a huge part in the beauty of the area. The scenery is the best reason to trek the path. Take a 15 minute ferry to Angel Island to enjoy this beauty of this treasure. Call (415) 435-3972 to find out more about the park.
Searching for a hike with scenic diversity? Look no further than the Presidio, once an army post located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park is one that keeps on giving, harmonizing culture, history and nature within the 1480 acres. Hikes range from easy to moderate. More information is available on the park’s website. There is a visitor center, open daily from 9AM to 5PM, and a phone number for further questions is (415) 561-4323.
“California Camping”; Tom Stienstra; 1996