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The thing about living in Northern California is that pretty much everywhere you look, thereâ€™s a killer view. While you can drive down Divis or stand at the top of Twin Peaks to get anÂ undoubtedly breath-taking view, with just a little effort -- like going on a 1 or 9-mile hike -- you can be rewarded with views that are so jaw-dropping, youâ€™ll immediately feel just a little more relaxed than you have been in months.
So lace up your shoes this weekend, head on one of these nine gorgeous hikes, and remember why we love living in NorCal to begin with. Sea Cliff, San Francisco Hike distance: 4 miles At the northwestern corner of San Francisco, thereâ€™s a hike along cliffs that offers some of the most stunning views you can imagine.
The winding, but almost completely flat, coastal trail is well-maintained and easy enough that pretty much everyone can do it -- which means it can get pretty crowded on the weekend -- and provides views of the ocean, Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and China Beach.
While youâ€™re there, you can also explore the ruins of , learn about the steam train that used to carry passengers from Downtown to the baths, see the remains of three shipwrecks, and get plenty of awesome photos. Bonus: at the end, you can reward yourself with a cocktail or a cold beer at the .
San Francisco Bay Hike distance : 4.6 miles There is so much to do and see on Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," but you want to hit up "The Sunset Trail," a nearly 5-mile hike that takes you to the top of Mount Livermore, the highest point on the island. At 788ft, youâ€™re going to get those amazing views youâ€™re craving... as long as you think views of the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, Golden Gate, and San Francisco skyline are amazing (and if you don't, we're concerned that you might be a robot programmed for joylessness).
In order to get to Angel Island, youâ€™ll have to take the , which departs from Pier 41 twice on weekdays and three times on the weekends (in other words: donâ€™t miss it). The first part of the hike is relatively easy, so pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the tables on the summit before you begin the rest of the 3.5-mile trek. Youâ€™ll definitely earn that cold beer you order on the ferry ride home. Contra Costa County Hike distance: 6.1 miles At 3,849ft, Mount Diablo is one of the Bay Areaâ€™s tallest mountains.
And you know what that means: crazy good views... and a lot of work to get to the peak. Sorry about that. The Grand Loop takes at least half a day, but ultimately provides a birds-eye view of the Bay Area, and, on a super clear day, you can even see the Farallon Islands, Sierra Nevadas, and Mt. Lassen (!!!). It can get steep at times, so you want to wear shoes or hiking boots with good tread.
And pack more water than you think youâ€™ll need -- thereâ€™s not a lot of shade. Adventures! Marin County Hike distance : 1.2 miles If youâ€™re into gorgeous sunsets (which you are, unless you're the aforementioned joyless robot), the East Peak on Mount Tam is the place to be on a clear evening.
At 2,570ft, itâ€™s the highest point, and also super easy to get to. In fact, the Plank Walk Trail is so easy and short that weâ€™re going to recommend you start with the Verna Dunshee loop first.
This trail gives you views of San Francisco, Northern Marin, and the East Bay, and is a full loop thatâ€™s only a little more than half a mile. When you arrive back at the parking lot, just get onto the Plank Walk, which is about a quarter of a mile and takes you all the way to the summit.
Linger here, watch the sunset, and then head back down before it gets too dark. Mill Valley to Stinson Beach Hike distance: 9.5 miles If you live in San Francisco and havenâ€™t hiked the Dipsea Trail from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, itâ€™s time to change that. The moderate to difficult (definitely not for beginners) trail gives you everything you want in a Northern California hike and more... at times, maybe a little too much more, but câ€™mon. Youâ€™ve got this.
The views are everything. And we mean that metaphorically and literally. As in, theyâ€™re great, but youâ€™ll also see the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tam, the Pacific Ocean, redwood trees, Stinson Beach, and thereâ€™s a chance youâ€™ll also spot some wildlife along the way -- they kind of encompass the beauty of the Bay area. Youâ€™ll also get to walk the famous Dipsea Stairs, cross a creek, and experience the steps best known as Steep Ravine. Itâ€™s a long hike, so bring layers and water, and maybe plan to have lunch in Stinson while youâ€™re there.
(If you're not feeling up to the whole deal, thereâ€™s also that starts at Stinson and gives you a similar experience in "just" 7.5 miles.) Point Reyes National Seashore Hike distance : 7.5 miles TLC once warned us against chasing waterfalls, and it might have been because they went on this particular hike and were totally exhausted... or it might have had something do with chasing dreams without thought for the future. Either way, now that the song is stuck in your head, ignore the lyrics and definitely go chase this 40ft tidefall that cascades down a cliff and directly onto the beach.
While the massive waterfall is definitely the highlight of this trip (as it should be), the ocean views as you walk along the cliff are breathtaking throughout. This hike is pretty intense, there are also a couple of steep parts, and the trail can get a little crowded, but itâ€™s totally worth it. And pack a swimsuit: youâ€™ll definitely want to stop at Bass Lake and have a go at the rope swing on your way back.
San Mateo County Hike distance : 1.3 miles If you want great views without a lot of work, look no further than The Anniversary Trail Loop. Like the name implies, Windy Hill Open Space Preserve has lots of... wait for it: open spaces (1,335-acres to be exact). Grassland ridges like these can be hard to find in the Bay Area, so this is a really huge bonus. The Anniversary Trail is one of the easiest hikes in the preserve, but it has 360-degree views from the ocean to the bay.
Oh, and, um, itâ€™s usually windy. So bring a jacket. Yeah, that was probably pretty obvious. Marin County Hike distance : 3.4 miles The Tennessee Valley Trail is another easy and popular hike thanks to the fact that itâ€™s a pretty flat walk with minimal hills and maximum views.
The trail winds through coastal hills and though it starts out paved turns into a dirt path after about half a mile. Ultimately, youâ€™ll end up at a tiny, sandy beach thatâ€™s sandwiched between bluffs on either side. Look carefully, and youâ€™ll see a hole in the black rock cliffs that's been carved by ocean waves.
Although dogs arenâ€™t allowed on the trail, be prepared to see a lot of horses, as the path is near some stables and is horse-friendly. Berkeley Hike distance: 3.2 miles Behind the historic Claremont Hotel is a 208-acre preserve with picturesque hiking trails. The Stonewall-Panoramic Trail is the primary trail, and also the one youâ€™re gonna wanna do because it will take you to some of the best views in the Berkeley Hills that include Downtown Berkeley, Downtown Oakland, and the San Francisco Bay.
The climb will definitely get your heart rate up; while it's just over a mile, you gain about 700ft of elevation... which is ultimately totally worth it. They all are though, arenâ€™t they?
best dating san francisco bay area beach hikes near - San Francisco Bay Area Hikes With Beautiful Views
San Gregorio General Store Highway 84 and Stage Road San Gregario, CA (650) 726-0565 Just between Half Moon Bay and Pescadero, and known for fun shopping, live music and some of the best Bloody Marys in the Bay Area, the San Gregario General Store is a beach-side stop unlike any other. Still a working post office, you can grab provisions, fruit and vegetables, clothing, gifts, beach supplies and of course, a cocktail.
Steep Ravine Campground (415)388-2070 Just south of Stinson Beach, you’ll find this little known batch of rustic wood cabins, perched atop the cliff, with a commanding view of Stinson Beach. The cabins are sparse, so plan on bringing everything but the tent. Terrific for groups and families, Steep Ravine is a special Stinson secret. Cypress Inn 407 Mirada Road Half Moon Bay, CA 94019 (650) 726-6002 A luxurious beachfront-inn located on miles of pristine white sand beaches with the Pacific Ocean at your doorstep.
This oceanfront property is located just 30 minutes south of San Francisco and offers 18 guest rooms complimented by dramatic ocean views and gracious personalized service. Davenport Roadhouse 1 Davenport Avenue Davenport, CA 95017 (831) 426-8801 This 12-room Inn features a dining room with beach views, a full bar, live-music twice a week and a private path directly to the beach. The Roadhouse provides an easy but surprisingly secluded getaway from Bay Area folks, especially those from the South Bay, looking for a quick and relaxing vacation.
Pelican Inn (415) 383-6000 Nestled just between Muir Beach and Muir Woods, the Pelican Inn is on of the most special Northern California treasures we can think of. This English-style pub offers fine dining, a low-ceiling pub and even charmingly appointed rooms, should you wish to spend the night.
Don’t miss darts in the pub, where folks are known to break into the occasional English drinking song. Muir Beach Overlook: Muir Beach is a spectacular dark sand beach, slightly more secluded than her popular neighbor, Stinson Beach. A great place for playing with the whole family, even the four-legged members, Muir Beach features excellent sand castle tools, like driftwood, seaweed and mussel shells. The hikes up above the beach over breath-taking views of the crashing Pacific waves.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse Overlook 210 Pigeon Point Road Pescadero, CA 94060 (650) 879-0633 A 115-foot New England style lighthouse creates a picturesque setting from which to view the San Mateo County Coast.
And who doesn’t love a lighthouse? This is a beautiful and educational spot to explore with the whole family. Pirate’s Cove (0.7 mile hike south of Muir Beach in Marin) From the Muir Beach parking lot, head across the walking bridge, and up the Fire Road, where you’ll find the main trail.
From our experience, it’s best to hit the beach on a low tide, as it’s super small, but very stunning if you time it right! Pirate’s Cove io amed from the bootleggers who used the cove to ship in illegal booze during Prohibition. McClure’s Beach (16 miles west of Pt. Reyes Station in Marin) Another one of , McClure’s Beach is a secluded North Bay spot requiring a quick hike along a winding path. What you find at the end is one of the most hidden and special beaches in all of the Bay Area.
Keep in mind, most Bay Area beaches are hardly tropical. The Pacific is a brisk 55 degrees, famous for her rip tides and yep, great white sharks. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Crissy Field Beach Beautifully maintained, you may have drven past Crissy Field many times, but have you ever stopped to walk around? A favorite of local dog-owners, Crissy Field is perfect for a stroll in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. In the warm months, visitors are treated to live music, outdoor film screenings, and even Shakespeare.
Lake Anza at Tilden Park Looking for a beach in the East Bay? Look no further than the sandy shores of Lake Anza in Berkeley’s Tilden Park. Lovely trails, lots of wildlife, a fun snack bar, and even water warm enough to swim in, Lake Anza is the perfect East Bay spot for a romantic stroll or an all-day, inexpensive family adventure. Taco Bell on the beach in Pacifica 5200 Coast Hwy Pacifica, CA 94044 (650) 355-4210 This is why you’re here in the Bay Area.
Because we have a gorgeous Taco Bell in a rustic wooden building with a stunning deck sitting feet from the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re going to have a Chalupa (and you’re going to have a Chalupa), you might as well have one in heaven. Surfer’s Grill on Stinson Beach (located in the Lifeguard Tower) (415) 868-1777 Stinson Beach, Eye on the Bay’s FAVORITE Bay Area Beach, has an array of fantastic selling points.
But even if you pack your own gourmet and organic snack, there is something reassuring about the old school Surfer’s Grill, a snack bar located right at the top of the beach, serving up all of the food you expect from a snack bar on the beach.
Yum! Alamere Waterfall Here is a great link to help guide you to the falls: What could be more breath-taking than a waterfall dropping right into the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean? Thats what you’ll find at Alamere Falls. Take a hike along the California Coast Trail starting from the Palomarin trailhead near Bolina, to discover this unexpected North Bay gem along the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Stinson Beach Marin County, CA Our number one pick for Eye on the Bay’s favorite beach in the Bay Area is the gorgeous 3-mile long Stinson Beach. Nestled in a charming beach-side village on the west side of Mount Tamalpais, Stinson is a small surfing community with free beach access, an array of fun dining and overnight options, shopping, sports and plenty of sun.
Home to all kinds of fun events, like the finish line of the century-old Dipsea Race from Mill Valley, Stinson Beach is not just a breath-taking beach, but an adorable town of about 700 friendly people. It’s the perfect go-to beach in the Bay Area, but arrive early. It’s a popular spot.
Sure, it’s the home of Google and Facebook. But the is also the wildest metropolitan area in the United States, with broad swaths of open spaces surrounding its urban core. Step into the San Francisco outdoors and wondrous things happen: You’ll gaze at waterfalls. Stand atop mountain summits. Watch waves crash on rocky shores.
Be awed by old-growth redwoods. So lace up your hiking shoes and explore the wild side of the Bay Area on these five local hiking trails. One bonus, beyond the views: At the end of each of these Bay Area hikes, you won’t be far from a great spot for lunch, espresso, or wine tasting.
Matt Davis and Steep Ravine Loop 7.5 miles round-trip This half-day loop delivers Mount Tamalpais’ photogenic highlights—grassy slopes with wide Pacific vistas, mossy forests, and a cascading stream. From Pantoll Ranger Station, north of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, follow Matt Davis Trail’s long, graceful arc from the mountain’s heights to the sea.
With a 10 a.m. start, you’ll reach Stinson Beach by lunchtime. Refuel your calories at or , then pick up Dipsea Trail at Highway 1 and Panoramic Highway. Follow Dipsea across the grasslands to Steep Ravine Trail. Turn left and make a heart-pumping ascent alongside Webb Creek, where majestic redwoods and Douglas firs stand sentry over small waterfalls and crystal pools.
Zig-zag your way through this sylvan wonderland back uphill to your car. Tennessee Valley Trail 3.8 miles round-trip Pack a picnic and head across the Golden Gate Bridge for an easy Bay Area hike to the national recreation area’s , where rolling waves dissolve on the beach’s black sand, pelicans soar overhead, and the relentless tide batters the offshore rocks.
Tennessee Valley’s wide, level path cuts through a valley between chaparral-covered hills. The trail forks just before a bird-filled lagoon; go left along the water’s edge to scout for ducks and egrets, then stroll onward to Tennessee Cove. Bracketed by high cliffs, this pocket beach is where the steamship the S.S. Tennessee wrecked in dense fog in 1853. All of the roughly 550 passengers were saved, but the surf tore the ship to bits. See this picturesque cove from a pelican’s perspective by hiking up the northwestern bluff to an old military bunker.
North Ridge and Sunset Trail Loop 5.0 miles round-trip Round up the gang for a boat cruise on San Francisco Bay and a hike on Angel Island.
This family-friendly San Francisco hike leads to the island’s highest point, where the Bay’s cerulean-blue panorama unfolds. Getting there is half the fun: Savor the salty-breezy ferry ride (with service from , , and ), then disembark at Ayala Cove and climb a long staircase to join North Ridge Trail. Vistas widen as you ascend gentle switchbacks toward Mount Livermore’s northern shoulder.
At the Summit Trail junction, bear right for the 788-foot summit. Count the famous landmarks—Berkeley, San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, and more. Tear yourself away from this riveting vista to loop back on Sunset Trail. Stop at for veggie wraps and pulled pork sandwiches before catching the ferry home. Berry Creek Falls 9.2 miles round-trip Ancient redwoods and a glistening waterfall await on this all-day adventure west of Silicon Valley.
Start at near park headquarters and meander among virgin redwoods, some larger than 12 feet in diameter. You’ll follow bubbling creeks for much of the route, keeping good company with yellow banana slugs and, in the wet season, orange-bellied California newts. At 4.2 miles, the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail meets up with , and the waterfall appears like a mirage through the trees. Turn right to walk the final stretch to this 65-foot-tall cataract, which tumbles gracefully over a fern-lined cliff framed by redwoods.
Nab a spot on the wooden viewing platform, pull a sandwich from your day-pack, and applaud the watery spectacle. Mary Bowerman Loop Trail .8 miles round-trip The mileage is minuscule but the payoff is huge on this easy tromp near in the eastern Bay Area. offers inspiring views from every turn as it circles the 3,849-foot summit of mighty Mount Diablo.
Look west to pick out the Golden Gate Bridge and Farallon Islands, then circle to the east to spy the crest of the Sierra Nevada. Start at the visitors center, just below Diablo’s summit. Pick up an interpretive brochure and impress your friends as you identify local flora like chamise, yerba santa, and scrub oak. Don’t miss the short side trail to the Devil’s Pulpit, a red-colored, chert outcrop that’s a playground for rock climbers. After your walk, drive back down the park road to picnic area.
A short walk leads to Rock City, a cluster of sandstone outcrops that kids love to climb on. — Ann Marie Brown A crimson bridge, cable cars, a sparkling bay, and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes—San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great cities. Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine.
"I left my heart in San Francisco, High on a hill, it calls to me." — singer Tony Bennett The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches, and the tech-savvy southern end of the bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook, and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation.
Regions Pick a region form the map or the list below to explore. • 1. Shasta Cascade • 2. North Coast • 3. Gold Country • 4. San Francisco Bay Area • 5. High Sierra • 6. Central Valley • 7. Central Coast • 8. Deserts • 9.
Inland Empire • 10. Los Angeles County • 11. Orange County • 12. San Diego County This region, in California’s northeast corner, is known for mountains, forests, waterfalls, and amazing, safe-to-visit volcanoes. The region, a 3-hour drive north of Sacramento, gets its name from the rugged Cascade Mountains and their signature peak in state, 14,180-foot/4,322-meter Mount Shasta—yes, a volcano.
With crashing waves along the coast and soaring redwood trees blanketing miles of uncrowded parkland, this is one of California’s most spectacular regions. The largest city, Eureka, is roughly a 5-hour drive north of San Francisco—but what a drive: see lush wine country, charming hamlets, spouting whales, and breathtaking sunsets. The western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Range, defining California’s eastern border, are known as the Gold Country, named after the rich Mother Lode discovered here in the mid-1850s.
While gold is still found in the region, new riches include top museums and art in Sacramento, the state capital, plus whitewater rafting, tucked-away towns, farm-fresh dining, and award-winning wines. On the western oceanfront of Northern California, at the state’s distinctive bend along the coast, lies this breathtaking region. It’s framed by an unforgettable gateway—the iconic Golden Gate Bridge—spanning the mouth of San Francisco Bay.
Explore diverse cities, picturesque hamlets, family-friendly beaches, coastal parklands, and wine country, including Napa and Sonoma wine country, 1½ hours north of San Francisco. Nicknamed “California’s backbone,” this region of towering granite peaks defines much of the state’s eastern boundary.
Visit Yosemite Valley, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, and the giant trees of Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks—all within a day’s drive of either San Francisco or L.A. In winter, enjoy snow sports; in summer, go hiking, mountain biking, fishing, or boating. In this narrow strip of coastal hills and valleys, discover romantic towns, including Carmel-by-the-Sea, historic Monterey, and elegant Santa Barbara, nicknamed “the American Riviera.” The region’s classic drive along Highway One, linking San Francisco to Los Angeles, visits Big Sur, Hearst Castle, wine country, and kick-back surf towns.
This dramatic region takes up the southeastern half of the state. Remarkable desert parklands, including Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and Anza-Borrego, provide an extraordinary chance to explore, while the oasis-like allure of Palm Springs, 3 hours northeast of San Diego, offers sunny resort-style getaways, with golf, tennis, spas, and high-end shopping.
This densely populated Southern California region has surprising alpine getaways, like Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, in the impressive San Bernardino Range. On the region’s sunny east side, explore the inviting Temecula Valley wine region.
The university town of Riverside is the region’s largest city. San Bernardino, the second largest city, has museums and impressive shopping, while Fontana has NASCAR racing.
This sunny region along the state’s southern coast is California’s most populated region, best known as the capital of the entertainment industry. Here, movie stars really do work in Hollywood, play in the surf at Malibu, and shop in Beverly Hills.
Looping freeways make the car king, but the region also has a surprisingly good network of buses and light rail—a hassle-free way to explore. Tucked between San Diego and Los Angeles Counties, this region is known for flawless beaches and “the happiest place on earth,” Disneyland Resort.
Anaheim, the theme park’s home, offers a surprisingly hip vibe in a refurbished downtown. Newport Beach has dazzling yachts, Huntington Beach has iconic surfing, and Costa Mesa beckons with top shopping. This sun-and-surf region is known for some of the best weather and warmest water in the state. San Diego, the state’s second largest city, is home to the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, one of the world’s great urban parks.
For family fun, play at SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California. Inland, discover surprising mountain towns like Julian, known for orchards and apple pie.
Cascade Falls - San Francisco Bay Area Hiking - Snubs Report