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San Francisco, California, United States

Best Bay Area Day Hikes

The must-see hiking trails in the San Francisco Bay Area

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Overview: These five hikes show why the San Francisco Bay Area is best seen on foot.

California's famous redwoods and spectacular coastline are only part of the story: the region's trail system is among the world's best, with hundred-mile vistas, hidden waterfalls and even a herd of tule elk.


Tips: The best Bay Area trails are in the hills, so be prepared for lots of climbing.

The region gets almost no rain from May through October -- which means lots of sunny days for hiking, but also many water sources drying up in the summer. Always make sure you've got enough water, and bring snacks along to keep your energy level up.

Winter rains mean muddy trails -- try to wait a few days after a major rain before hitting the trails.

Always dress in layers -- a cool clammy morning along the coast can turn into a hot sunny day.

Bring sunscreen for unshaded hikes.

Poison oak is common along narrow trails throughout the region.
Guides in this Bundle
Berry Creek Falls Loop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Berry Creek Falls Loop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 10.2 miles, Full day
Long hike through old-growth redwoods to shimmering waterfalls is a Bay Area favorite.
map
Cataract Trail Loop in Marin County
Cataract Trail Loop in Marin County
Bolinas, California, United States
 
Moderate: 7.7 miles, Half day
See Marin County's most scenic waterfalls. 7-mile moderate hike
map
Coyote Creek Loop at Henry Coe State Park
Coyote Creek Loop at Henry Coe State Park
Gilroy, California, United States
 
Difficult: 8.8 miles, Half day
See the Bay Area bloom in a hidden corner of Henry Coe State Park. Strenuous 9-mile hike.
map
Horse Heaven Trail to Mission Peak
Horse Heaven Trail to Mission Peak
Fremont, California, United States
 
Difficult: 6.0 miles, Half day
See San Francisco Bay from high atop Mission Peak in Fremont, CA, USA. Strenuous 6-mile loop hike
map
North Peak at Mount Diablo State Park
North Peak at Mount Diablo State Park
Clayton, California, United States
 
Difficult: 10.0 miles, Full day
Skip the summit crowds and see Mount Diablo's North Peak. Strenuous 10-mile hike.
map
Tomales Point at Point Reyes National Seashore
Tomales Point at Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes Station, California, United States
 
Moderate: 10.2 miles, Half day
Glorious views and grazing elk await at Point Reyes National Seashore. Moderate 10-mile hike.
map

Pictures in this guide taken by: tommangan
Reviews
krbose
A spectacular collection of day hikes!

by krbose on May 28, 2010

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About the Author

tommangan
tommangan
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Keeper of Two Heel Drive, A Hiking Blog at http://tommangan.net/twoheeldrive |

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