Wake to the sound of the Pacific pounding the Northern California coastline. Fall asleep in a grove of thousand-year-old redwoods. Join the lucky few who can see San Francisco's shimmering skyline from the middle of the bay.
The hikes won't be easy -- nothing's easy with 25 to 40 pounds of food and survival supplies strapped on your back -- but the experiences far outweigh the strain.
Everytrail Guides profile five of the best sites to launch an overnight outing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each proves you don't have to drive to far-flung backcountry trailheads to enjoy a night out in the woods.
Almost all campsites in the Bay Area require reservations, often months in advance for weekend nights. Henry Coe State Park southeast of San Jose is the lone exception.
When to go: Springtime is the best, though also the most crowded. Autumn is nice, though the streams will be dry and make water harder to find. Winter will be rainy and muddy, but uncrowded. Summer is too hot in the East and South Bay, but tolerable in the redwoods and mild (though foggy) along the coast.
Speaking of water: Bring purification supplies -- filters or chemical purifiers.