Hiking San Francisco

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If you have no time for a long hike, a walk in the park (or as I would like to call it, an easy hike)  will do just fine – particularly, if it’s the right park. Alex has got the right address for you.

 Hiking San Francisco

Blogger Alex Genadinik Hiking San Francisco"A guest post by Alex Genadinik

One of the best places for hiking San Francisco is the Land’s End National Park. The park is located at the north-western end of the city, which happens to be the absolute end of all land (hence the park’s name) to the west, with only the vastness of the Pacific Ocean stretching to the horizon and beyond.

The park’s trails span only a few miles, but the views are second to none. Plus, the little-touched area allows visitors to experience San Francisco in its most natural state, as most of the land is protected from any development.

The park itself is elevated on top of gigantic cliffs that suddenly drop off. Despite that, the trails do not have much rise or decline, making for an easy hike and accessible for just about anyone. The trails are often surrounded by tall bushes that provide a little bit of shade on hot days.

At various points of the hike, the shrubbery disappears and the hikers find themselves standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the vast space of the Pacific Ocean on one side, and the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin on the opposite side. It is the classic postcard view of San Francisco, and one of the rarest type of view in the world, combining the historic Golden Gate Bridge, the endlessness of the ocean and the waves crashing against the rocks right below the cliffs.

"The  bay seen when hiking San Francisco by the Bay"

The hikes themselves can take as little as 30 minutes or as much as one and a half hours, depending on the number and variations of loops the hikers choose. Fast hikers can probably go from one end of the park and back in 30 minutes while slower walkers will likely cover the same distance in about 45 minutes.

The main trail is clearly marked, and it is difficult to get lost. People who are more adventurous can veer off onto smaller and more meandering trails that are a little less easy to navigate. While it is impossible to get totally lost, you may lose up to 30 minutes finding your way back.

"Golden Gate bridge seen when hiking San Francisco, Land's End trail"

After the hike, for a cultural experience, the Legion of Honor museum of art history is just a short walk away. The museum is the only large building inside the park. If not too tired from the hike, visiting the museum can be a great way to have a balanced day.

There are no picnic areas, but there are plenty of places outside to sit and enjoy a nice meal that you brought from home if the museum café food does not seem too appetizing for you.

What to Wear

San Francisco is known to be windy so on just about any day you may want to bring a hoodie or a jacket.  You may not need hiking boots, but do not come in flip flops either. Ultimately, comfortable sneakers or hiking boots are probably best. Do bring water and be mindful of the time of the day because the weather in San Francisco changes during the day, becoming much coder and windier after about 3pm.

Directions

The two main buses that go to the Land’s End Park are the #38 bus and the #1 bus. The park is approximately 5 miles from downtown San Francisco.

Alex Genadinik has lived in San Francisco for approximately 15 years and has hiked in many different areas of Northern California. He is now working on creating a united hiking community in the Bay Area and building HikingSanFrancisco.com in the hope of making it easy for people to find hiking buddies and hiking groups in the area. Join his San Francisco Hiking FB group

2 comments to Hiking San Francisco

  • Although I’ve lived in the SF Bay Area for many years, I haven’t hiked this particular area. I’ve looked at it from across the bay in the Marin headlands many times. Thanks for the post — I’ll give it a try!

  • A good easy hike over in San Francisco. Admittedly, people would not go to SF just to hike here, but at least they know there’s this scenic hiking possibility. Thanks for this contribution, Alex

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