San Bruno Mountain CA

• 4-star hike
• 3.1 - 6.8 mile options
• Medium difficulty | Gain 670 to 1,080 feet
• San Bruno, CA | San Francisco Bay Area
• Driving Directions: Summit/Ridge, Brisbane

Hikers on the San Bruno Mountain Ridge.

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.

Pick a nice clear day for this hike, as San Bruno Mountain is usually a magnet for clouds and fog. There again, we've seen some spectacular views from the ridgeline as the fog rolls in on an evening.

Parking for the Summit Loop and Ridge Trail is in a gated off paid parking lot that closes around sunset or earlier. Some of the best views from the ridgeline are at times when the parking lot would be closed, so our Brisbane trail would be a good way to avoid getting locked in.

Summit Loop, Ridge Trail, Brisbane Loop

Summit Loop 4★
3.1 mi, Loop, Medium, Gain 670 ft
We prefer a counter clockwise route, ambling through the chapparal on the West side of the mountain, slowly rising to reveal views of Sutro Tower, San Francisco and a distant Mount Tamalpais. More views are revealled 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.
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

Ridge Trail 4★
6.8 mi, Out & Back, Medium, Gain 1080 ft
The Ridge Trail atop San Bruno Mountain provides for panoramic peninsula views, but mostly of urban sprawl. Still, the views up here are terrific, which you'll get to share with the hawks combing the grasses for their next meal. The turnaround at the East end of the hike is not obvious, so pick your own point at which to to head back.
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

Brisbane Loop 3★
2.6 mi, Loop, Medium, Gain 990ft
A more uncommon route to the San Bruno Mountain ridgeline, this trail ascends the grassy North Eastern flanks of the mountain. You could return the way you came, or take a short narrow trail to the streets of Brisbane and turn this into a loop.
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

Radio antenna atop the West side of San Bruno Mountain's ridgeline.

Not the most unspoilt of mountaintops, but there are great views from here.

• Trail Links: Official, Public Maps at AllTrails
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

San Francisco's Best Hikes
For great Bay Area trails check out Trailspotting's Best Hikes of the San Francisco Bay.

Yosemite's Best Hikes
Epic scenery and adventures await. Trailspotting's Best Hikes of Yosemite National Park is a great place to start.

Lake Tahoe's Best Hikes
All-year-round fun at this Northern California landmark. Trailspotting's Best Hikes of Lake Tahoe has hikes for everyone.
Bluesky Icon   Facebook Icon    Flipboard Icon   Instagram Icon   Mastadon Icon   RSS Feed Icon   Threads Icon
Subscribe for new trail reviews weekly

Trailspotting is non-commercial, ad-free and for the public good.
Content provided without warranty of accuracy. Copyright © 2005-2024 Stuart Green all rights reserved. Reproduction requires explicit consent.
About Trailspotting.