5.9 miles, 1-3 hours
Coyote Hills Regional Park is a great place to introduce a friend to hiking: scenic and steep enough to warm somebody to the idea of nice days walking on dirt.
If the modest hills overlooking San Francisco Bay force you to work up a sweat on the way up the Red Hill Trail, you can cool down by walking the wide gravel Bayview Trail along water's edge.
Trails on this track: Bayview Trail > Soap Root Trail > > Red Hill Trail > Bayview > Lizard Rock Trail > Chochenyo Trail.
An enlightening side trip is to the Tuibun Village site east of the marshes near the Visitors Center. The Tuibun Ohlone Indians built a shellmound there 2,000 years ago.
If you're feeling really ambitious, take the trail over Highway 84 and check out the birds and other animals at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (note dogs aren't allowed there).
Wear sunscreen; shade is scant here. Much of the bay water at the park's edge is shallow and dank -- it can smell nasty at times.
Contact the park: 888-327-2757, option 3, extension 4519.
Park hours: April to October: 8 am to 8 pm; October to April: 8 am to 6 pm.
Parking: $5 per vehicle
Driving directions: From Interstate 880, take Highway 84 west, exit at Paseo Padre Parkway and drive north. Turn left on Patterson Ranch Road.