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.
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.