The 10 Best Hikes in the Bay Area (San Francisco)


San Francisco may be famous for being a bustling business city, but it is also a paradise for nature lovers. There are loads of amazing Bay Area hiking trails that offer total outdoor escapes.

With a really unique coastal landscape and unspoiled mountains, Bay Area hiking is ideal. There are also hikes in the Bay Area that are suitable for all kinds of fitness, experience, and adventure levels.

Here is our guide to some of the best hikes in the Bay Area for anyone looking to enjoy the beautiful outdoors around here.

The 10 Best Hiking Trails, Bay Area

Hiking in Bay Area can involve all kinds of amazing landscapes and adventures. From tall mountain summits to peaceful woodland strolls, this place has it all. Here are 10 of the best hiking trails in Bay Area.

1. Lands End

Lands End is an easily accessible way to experience the majestic Bay Area coastline. Walking along the Lands End trails allows you to pass some seriously dramatic cliffs, dropping straight into the ocean.

Enjoy incredible photo opportunities from the Eagles Point Overlook – the endpoint of the trail. The scenic Lands End hike is 1.5 miles in length, fairly easy to finish, and is within easy reach of the city.

2. Mt. Tamalpais Summit

Mt. Tamalpais is a magnificent peak, offering unbeatable sweeping views. Climbing Mt. Tamalpais is one of the best Bay Area hikes due to its beautiful paths and rewarding mountain summit.

There are a number of different routes that you can take to the top – but the most popular choices would be the Railroad Grade and Matt Davis trails. The total hike will be 7.4 miles long, but it is well worth it when you reach the top.

3. Glen Canyon Park

If you are looking for one of the easiest Bay Area hiking spots, then Glen Canyon Park is an excellent choice. This stunning park on the south side of San Francisco is incredibly peaceful – offering a tranquil city escape.

Stroll along the main Glen Canyon Trail which passes fairy houses and lush nature. The trail is 1.9 miles in total and can easily be accomplished by all hikers.

4. Mt. Diablo

If you are after one of the best hikes Bay Area has to offer, then Mt. Diablo has got to be high up on the list. This mountain offers hikers a challenge, with its impressive height and exposed trails. However, a walk-up here also offers some of the most spectacular views in the area.

The Donner Creek Loop Trail is the most popular way up, spanning 5.1 miles of beautiful pathway.

5. The Dipsea, Steep Ravine Loop on Mt. Tamalpais

While summiting Mt. Tamalpais is one of the best hikes in Bay Area, the mountain also boasts another fantastic trail. This is the Dipsea, Steep Ravine, Matt Davis Loop, a 6.4-mile hike that shows off some of the best parts of Mt. Tam.

The hike starts and ends at Stinson Beach, and it passes waterfalls, an exciting ladder climb, and breathtaking ocean views.

6. Bernal Heights Summit

Looking for the best hiking spots in the Bay Area for views over San Francisco? Then Bernal Heights is the place to go. Summiting Bernal Heights is not only a fun 1-mile loop to hike, but it offers some of the best panoramic views over the city.

There are a few steep sections on this trail, but overall it is pretty easy. Enjoy the many wildflowers along the way if you are hiking after the winter rains.

7. Montara Mountain North Peak\

Montara Mountain stands 2000 ft. tall, towering above the southern Bay Area. This is one of the best Bay Area trails for dramatic views of the Pacific. The Montara Mountain North Peak loop trail is 7 miles long, and it features a fair bit of climbing.

The views of Mt. Tam and Mt. Diablo that you can enjoy from the summit make this hike well worth the effort.

8. French Trail and Stream Trail Loop

The Redwood Regional Park may only be a 10-minute drive from downtown Oakland, but this place offers a serious sense of escape. The French Trail and Stream Trail loop in this park is well-loved by many Bay Area hikers.

This popular 7-mile hike passes coastal redwoods, rugged coastline, and many stunning ocean views. This is always a favourite hike for those in Oakland or Berkeley.

9. Marin Headlands

The Marin Headlands is a lush natural oasis just across the Golden Gate. If you want to escape the city and soak up the outdoors, then a hike here is the perfect activity.

The Point Bonita Trail and the Rodeo Lagoon Trail are two of the most popular routes in the Marin Headlands. While hiking around here you can pass Jurassic rocky cliffs, pebbled beaches, or quiet woodlands. Trails here are all fairly short (around 0.5 to 1 mile), and are easy for most hikers to enjoy.

10. Angel Island Perimeter

Walking around the Angel Island perimeter loop is one of the best trails in the Bay Area for those wanting to discover the unique landscape and coastline around here. This island, which sits in the San Francisco Bay, is a state park. You can reach the island by ferry, and enjoy the tranquil 5.9-mile trail around its perimeter.

This hike lets you enjoy awesome views over San Francisco while you are immersed in total untouched nature. This is one of the best city escapes.

Final Thoughts on the Best Hiking Trails, Bay Area

If you are visiting San Francisco, be sure to spend some time enjoying the amazing nature surrounding the city. There are hikes in the Bay Area that appeal to all kinds of people, offering a wide range of thrills and rewards.

From dramatic coastal trails to impressive mountain summits, the Bay Area is a hikers paradise. We hope you are inspired to strap on your boots and enjoy some of these wonderful routes around San Francisco!

Matt Davison
Matt has done marketing for travel and tourism for over a decade. His first love is SEO, with entrepreneurship hotter on its heels than a girlfriend. When he is not looking up flights back to his next destination, you can find him in the garden, making excuses to walk Rusty, strategizing with the team and tinkering on sites until the early morning.