Area: San Francisco Peninsula
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 1,800ft (from 0 - 1,800ft)
There are several ways up Sweeney Ridge, but you won't find this one in a guidebook, which is a shame because in 90 minutes you can go from surfer's paradise to hill-top Nike missile base overlooking the whole of the mid-peninsula from bay to ocean.
Starting out in the large parking lot by Pacifica pier, take in the sea air and warm up your hiking muscles on the beach, before taking off past Sharp Park golf course towards Mori Point. Hang a left, stay on level ground and eventually you'll hit Route 1, which you'll have to tackle by heading north to the crosswalk.
Once over the crosswalk head into the houses and bear right, leading to a signed path which in turn leads to a junction between Route 1 and a nursery selling orchids. Though there's nothing to tell you this, head up the hill and you'll find the Sweeney Ridge trailhead.
The trail from here is known as Mori Ridge and it'll lead you directly to the summit where you can take in the views before heading back down again. The trail is a little steep in places, but really nothing to worry about.
This is a particularly good evening hike, with the sun setting over the ocean and the city lights twinkling below.
- Trailspotting Images: Pier to Peak on Flickr
- Golden Gate National Parks
- Jef's Nike Missile Base website