Best Hikes: San Francisco Bay Area, CA


• 6 day hikes
• 1.0 to 7.1 mile trails
• Easy & Medium difficulties
• Northern California
• Driving Directions: San Francisco



Living and hiking around the San Francisco Bay Area for fifteen years has given us plenty of opportunity to build a strong list of our favorite hikes. San Francisco itself offers up in almost infinite amount of mostly urban trails which are best explored in your own way and at your own pace.

Beyond this we list the best hikes in the Bay Area which transport you out of urban and suburban environments and into nature. We have broken them up into three regions to help you find the best hike for you, but also check out our map which includes many more hikes that we don't have the space to feature here.

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5-star hike, 4-star hike, 3-star hike

Marin County (North of San Francisco)
         
Mt Tamalpais East Peak | 4★, 0.6mi, Easy, 190ft | A short hike to the summit of Mount Tamalpais, one of the most prominent peaks in the Bay Area. If you're interested in a longer hike to the summit, check out our West Point Inn review. See trail review.
Steep Ravine & Matt Davis Trail | 4★, 6.1mi, Medium, 1670ft | Combine a grassland Matt Davis Trail hike with a return up the lush redwood canyon that is Steep Ravine for a magical hike. See trail review.
Muir Woods via Tourist Club | 4★, 4.6mi, Medium, 1060ft | Explore the famed giant redwood grove without dealing with the crowds on this hillside lop trail. See trail review.
Mount Barnabe | 4★, 4.9mi, Medium, 1300ft | One of the best uncrowded spots in Marin County for hiking, this moderate grassy mountain hike rewards with views of Tomales Bay and surrounding headlands. See trail review.
Angel Island Perimeter Loop | 4★, 4.8mi, Medium, 580ft | Take a ferry from San Francisco or Tiburon in search of tranquility, great San Francisco Bay views or a history lesson. See trail review.
San Francisco Peninsula
         
Presidio Ecology Trail & Lover's Lane | 4★, 2.0mi, Easy, 200ft | You'll likely find more locals than visitors on this loop around the San Francisco Presidio. Our map also links to the Walt Disney Family Museum and the Yoda Fountain! See trail review.
Montara Mountain | 4★, 6.5-11.0mi, Medium, 1650-2180ft | Head for Montara Mountain if you're looking for sun along a fog-bound San Francisco Peninsula. Pick your favourite trail and enjoy the chaparral covered hillsides and the ocean views. We prefer the one from San Pedro Park. See trail review.
Mori Point, Pacifica | 4★, 1.3-2.5mi, Easy/Hard, 135-460ft | Savor in the splendor of the coastal bluffs of Mori Point while watching over the ocean for whale and dolphin sightings. See trail review.
Monte Bello Open Space Preserve | 4★, 5.5mi, Medium, 1240ft | The San Francisco Peninsula contains surprisingly large expanses of wilderness, and the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve is an excellent showcase of coastal mountains, sweeping grassy plains and peek-a-boo ocean views. See trail review.
Heritage Grove Loop | 4★, 3.8mi, Easy, 876ft | Visit Sam McDonald County Park and expect to find a little of everything, including gigantic old growth redwood trees and Santa Cruz Mountain ridge-tops. See trail review.
South Bay      
Mission Peak | 4★, 6.0mi, Medium, 2150ft | Towering over Fremont, CA the 2517 foot Mission Peak is a very popular summit to bag for hikers and casual walkers alike, although the latter often struggle with the punishing steep trails. See trail review.
Pinnacles High Peaks & Balconies | 5★, 1.8-8.5mi, Medium, 400-1900ft | Two hours distant from San Jose it's a stretch to call this a Bay Area hike, but it's worth the journey. Our featured route in the Pinnacles National Park combines caves, tight squeezes in high places, and the chance to see the endangered Californian condor. See trail review.
Pinnacles Bear Gulch Caves | 5★, 1.8mi, Easy, 466ft | Pinnacles National Park is a celebration of geology and nature in a way that's very different from other parks around the San Francisco Bay Area. This route takes in the landscape on a gently climbing trail, before descending into and snaking around a chasm and talus caves. See trail review.

Tangents:
• Trailspotting: All SF Bay Area Hikes | Best Hikes in California
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