best urban hiking in san francisco
Urban hiking is one of the fastest-growing trends in a modern-day tourist's exploration of a city, and San Francisco has some of the best in the world. Rather than exploring mountains and forests, you can find natural beauty right outside the Beacon Grand. In addition to our colorful city streets, we also have Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, and Twin Peaks. When you want to get a nearby break from the action of the city streets you can continue your walking journey into our wooded parks, vista lookouts, or sandy ocean beaches all without venturing outside of San Francisco.
Golden Gate Park, which starts at Stanyan and ends at the Great Highway is 1,017 acres, covers approximately 50 city blocks, and is one of the largest parks in America. With numerous trails, museums, lakes, and gardens to explore. A great route through the heart of the action starts at the Botanical Gardens past the California Academy of Science and The De Young Museum. When in front of De Young, search the base of the trees to find a hidden little green door where Fairies live! As you continue deeper into the park you will pass the butterflies that flutter through the Chinese Pavilion on Strawberry Hill, continue down John F. Kennedy Drive to say hello to the buffalo that live in, and cheer on the remote boats that race on Spreckles Lake.
Another great adventure and hiking destination is Lands End. Situated on a rocky bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it has views that stretch forever up and down the coast. This includes sights of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the ruins of the Sutro Baths, a public saltwater swimming pool complex that was built in 1894 and burnt down in 1966. Continue your hike among dark cypress trees and grassy cliffs and be sure to check out the beautiful view from Pont Lobos.
Lastly, enjoy a hike past the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, originally built for the 1915 Panama Pacific World's Fair to show that San Francisco was alive and well after the 1906 earthquake. Completely rebuilt from 1964 to 1974, it is the only structure from the exposition that survives on site. This amazing piece of architecture is not to be missed. From the Palace, walk to Chrissy Field to take in views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. An insider tip, try to time your urban hike around sunset. This is an epic spot to watch the sun drop into the bay.