Urban hikers are treated to waterfalls, history and serious calf-burns on trails around the San Francisco area. Short drives out of the city will lead to stunning viewpoints overlooking the ocean. Lace up your hiking boots and soak in North Californian vibes on these 10 hiking trails near San Fran, Cali:

 

Alamere Falls,

Point Reyes National Seashore

photoBryce Edwards Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 13 miles round-trip (20 km)
Elevation Gain: 1,204 ft (367 m) 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from San Francisco: 34 miles (55 km)
Trailhead: Parking lot via Mesa Rd near Bolinas

Alamere Falls is a stunning tidal waterfall that cascades 30 feet down a cliff onto Wildcat Beach. (Talk about drama!) To get to the falls, travel via the Coast Trail from the Palomarin Trailhead. The route is well-marked and rated moderate mostly due to length. To reach the beach requires a short scramble. Unsteady hikers might opt to use their hands to assist in their descent.

More informationnps.gov 

 

Mount Diablo Falls,

East Bay

photoMiguel Vieira Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 6.5 miles round-trip (10 km)
Elevation Gain: 1,154 ft (352 m) 
Difficulty: Challenging 
Distance from San Francisco: 40 miles (64 km) 
Trailhead: Park at the Visitor's Center at the end of Mitchell Canyon Rd. or at the end of Regency Dr.

Although it's not the longest trail on our list, the 1,000+ ft elevation gain is enough for a serious leg workout. The falls themselves can sometimes dry out, but the climb is still worth it. There are several trail markers along the way, which can make it rather confusing, so bring along a trail map.

 

More informationnorcalhiker.com 

 

Batteries to Bluffs Trail

Presido/Bay Area

photoRay Bouknight Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 1.4 miles round-trip (2.3 km)
Elevation Gain: 449 ft (136 m) 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from San Francisco: 5 miles (8 km)
Trailhead: You'll find two trailheads at Lincoln Blvd 

Relax on the sand with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge as you conquer this hiking trail. Along this short trek, gentle hills and native plants punctuate the trail. You might even spot a dolphin frolicking in the ocean. This area is especially beautiful at sunset. If you're uncomfortable with nudity, you may want to avoid this trail, as the beach tends to be clothing-optional.

More informationpresidio.gov 

 

Land's End,

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

photoirene. Flickr cc by nd 2.0

Length: 3.4 miles round-trip (5.4 km)
Elevation Gain: 534 ft (162 m) 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from San Francisco: 6 miles (9.7 km)
Trailhead: Begin this hike at Land's End Eagle Point.

This popular hike is best done on weekday mornings to avoid overwhelming crowds. But can you blame them? The stunning views make up for the effort of climbing up and down many steps, even when a spooky fog rolls in.

More informationnps.gov 

Bloggers who have lived the adventure: californiathroughmylens.com 

 

Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop,
Marin County

photosk Flickr cc by nd 2.0

Length: 7.8 miles round-trip (12.5 km)
Elevation Gain: approx. 1,500 ft (457 m) 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from San Francisco: 22 miles (35 km)
Trailhead: Begin your hike from Stinson Beach.

Trail runners flock to this loop to train through diverse terrain, including grasslands, canyons and forest. The views don't disappoint, either: from the base of Mount Tamalpais, you'll have views of the ocean, wildflowers and waterfalls.

More informationtheoutbound.com 

Bloggers who have lived the adventure: camillebythebay.com 

 

Mount Diablo Summit,

East Bay

photoAndrew Eland Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 14 miles round-trip (22.5 km)
Elevation Gain: approx. 3,300 ft (1,000 m) 
Difficulty: Challenging
Distance from San Francisco: miles 
Trailhead: Pay $6 for parking at the Mitchell Canyon Interpretive Center.

Picnic sites, campsites and hiking trails abound in Mount Diablo State Park, but for the best views, you've got to trek all the way to the top. With a shockingly majestic panorama that stretches 200 miles on clear days, these views have to be seen to be believed. Before you begin hiking, pop into the Interpretive Center to learn more about the natural area or join a guided hike. 

More informationparks.ca.gov 

Bloggers who have lived the adventure: norcalhiker.com 

 

The Dipsea Trail,

Marin County

photocalamity_sal Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 7 miles round-trip (11.2 km)
Elevation Gain: approx. 1,600 ft (487 m) 
Difficulty: Challenging
Distance from San Francisco: 38 miles (61 km)
Trailhead: Mill Valley 

This trail starts off with three staircases containing a total of 688 steps, just to test if you really want to make the trek. The trail continues towards the Pacific Ocean, offering gorgeous coastal views. The history of the area is another draw for hikers and trail runners: the trail is home to the Dipsea Race, the oldest trail race in America, dating back to 1905.

 

More informationhikingproject.com 

Bloggers who have lived the adventure: rootsrated.com 

 

Tomales Point Trail,
Point Reyes National Seashore

photosodai gomi Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 9.5 miles round-trip (15 km)
Elevation Gain: approx. 1,000 ft (300 m) 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from San Francisco: 63 miles (100 km)
Trailhead: You'll find the trailhead at the end of Pierce Point Rd.

Watch for elk and other wildlife as you soak in the views of Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, and the Pacific Ocean along this hiking trail. Some sections are less well-marked and cleared then others, so wear long-sleeves and pants and carry a trail map.

More informationnps.gov 

  

Berry Creek Falls,

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

photoMiguel Vieira Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 10.5 miles round-trip (16.8 km)
Elevation Gain: 2,150 ft (655 m) 
Difficulty: Challenging
Distance from San Francisco: 57 miles (91 km)
Trailhead: Start at the State Park Headquarters

Covered in old-growth redwood forest, this trail features a series of beautiful waterfalls along the creek. Watch for active wildlife hidden in the woods. Inside California's oldest state park, you'll wander past incredibly tall trees, some over 2,000 years old.

More informationBig Basin Redwoods State Park

 

Perimeter Trail,
Angel Island

photoRay Bouknight Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 5.5 miles round-trip (8.9 km) 
Elevation Gain: 350 ft (100 m) 
Difficulty: Easy
Distance from San Francisco: 6 miles (requires ferry)
Trailhead: Ferry landing on Northridge trail.

This popular loop traces San Francisco Bay, yielding gorgeous coastal views on a relatively flat trail. Choose between dirt paths or pavement for bicycle-accessible travel.

More informationangelisland.com 

 


Are you an avid hiker in the San Francisco-area? 

Let us know which trail is your favourite. 
Comment below! 

 

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