Area: San Francisco Peninsula
Distance: 3½ miles
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 500ft (from 750 - 1,200ft)

The largest landmark on the northern part of the San Francisco Peninsula, San Bruno Mountain’s ridgeline is around four miles long. Though the march of human progress continues to slowly encroach on the mountain, it remains home to several rare and endangered species of flora, fauna and wildlife, including the elfin butterfly.

Taking the route counter-clockwise seemed to be the best route, ambling through the vegetation around the west side of the mountain, slowly rising to reveal the views of Sutro Tower, San Francisco and a distant Mount Tam. More views are revealed at the top of the mountain, looking south towards the coastal range, west to the ocean and east to Mount Diablo and the San Francisco Bay.

Pick a nice clear day for this hike, as San Bruno Mountain is usually a magnet for clouds and fog. Parking at the trailhead is off Guadalupe Canyon Parkway. Make sure you have a $5 bill and a pen handy, because the rangers usually aren’t around to take your money or break a twenty.

Check out our guide and map, which covers this trail along with others on San Bruno Mountain.

- Trailspotting Images: San Bruno Mtn Summit Loop on Flickr
- San Bruno State Park

101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area by Ann Marie Brown
California Hiking by Tom Stienstra and Ann Marie Brown