Backpacking in San Francisco

Most visitors associate San Francisco with her Chinatown, diverse neighborhoods, warm sunny beaches and the ‘Fishermans Wharf’. But San Francisco has more to offer…if only you look with a keen eye.

In fact, for hikers and regular backpackers, San Francisco is a hiker’s Paradise in its own right. The walks in the city are nicely complemented by the hikes in the wilderness, and the less explored trails of San Francisco can afford you a never before backpacking experience…

So among the innumerable trails in San Francisco which suits you best? Which trail will fulfill your desire for the dream backpacking experience?

To make a choice take a look at the  following options …

Popular Trails in the East

  • Mission Peak to Sunol(5 kilometers, Moderate): Ideal for day hiking, the trail starts from Fremont and terminates in Sunol.

  • The place is situated at about 4 kilometers on the path from Fremont to Mission Peak and about 6.5 kilometers en route to the border of Sunol Park.
  • Basically, most of the trail lies inside the Ohlone Wilderness and you will need a permit to hike through this part.
  • Eagle Spring, a good campsite, lies on the east side of Mission Peak.

  • Credit Source:Flickr Images

    Levin Park to Mission Peak:  This hike is near about 16kms by the Bay Area Ridge trail, if passed through Monument Peak and Mt. Allison.

  • Watch the mysterious stone walls near the Monument Peak summit. They were presumably built by the indigenous people before European settlers arrived.
  • In the springtime, you can enjoy the sight of lush greenery and the wild blooms.

  • Mt Diablo (17kilometers, Moderate): It is located in East Bay, which is situated in the northeast part of Berkeley.

  • Reaching the summit, you can turn to your west and look beyond the Golden Beach, as well as towards the Farallon Islands.
  • Farallon islands lie to the southeast of the James Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton at 4,213 feet elevation.

Credit Source:Flickr Images

Popular Trails in the North

Some of the most popular trails in this region include:

  • Dipsea Trail: An 11km trail. It starts from Mill Valley and extends to Stinson Beach that crosses Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Muir Woods National Monument as well as the Golden Gate Recreational Area.

  • The Mt. Tam via Temelpa trail offers the steepest and shortest way to hike to the top of Mt. Tamalpai. The 5 KM trail is known for the great views that the hikers enjoy en route.

  • The Muir Woods to Stinson Beach to Mt. Tam trail was first experimented with in 2007, combines the 3 popular trails of Marin County- the Steep Ravine, Matt Davis, and the Dipsea trails.

  • The trail provides 360-degree view from the summit of Mt. Tam.
  • It is famous for an extraordinary diversity of vegetation, landscape, and superb views.

  • Credit Source:Flickr Images

    Alamere Falls:  The coastal trail at Alamere falls is a relatively easy, 13 kilometers trail. It is noted for the beautiful and rare ‘tidefall’-waterfall that falls directly into the ocean. The trail also passes by the small Bass Lake and Pelican Lake.

Popular Trails In Peninsular San Francisco

  • Just 15 minutes south of San Francisco, you will find the relatively easy, 7 Kilometers long trail of Sweeney Ridge. The place offers spectacular views of the Ocean and the bay.

  • The San Pedro Park to Montara Mountain is a 12 kilometer trail that is moderately difficult. Here, you can enjoy a fine hiking experience through rich and highly diverse coastal scrub and coastal chaparral vegetation.

Popular Trails in the South

Southern San Francisco boasts of many spectacular hiking trails. Some of them include:

  • The Junipero Serra Peak, which is otherwise known as Santa Lucia Peak, can be reached through the Santa Lucia trail in the Ventana Wilderness. In fact, it is the highest point of the Ventana Wilderness.

  • The 5.6 mile, one-way climb from the trailhead to the summit ensures a heart pounding experience.
  • You can enjoy breathtaking views from the summit of the mountain as well as along the ridges.

  • If you are a novice backpacker, then the Henry Coe Park is a perfect excursion spot for you.

  • Credit Source:Flickr Images

    The general elevation is hardly higher than 1,000m.
  • The wildflowers along the trail are a spectacular sight.

  • Credit Source:Flickr Images

    The loop from Sam McDonald Park to Portola Redwoods Park is an ideal spot for picnicking, camping, hiking and backpacking.

  • The 18 miles of the trail connect with 4 nearby parks- namely Sam McDonald, Pescadero, Memorial and Heritage Grove to offer an array of recreational activities.

So, will San Francisco be your next backpacking destination? If you need further help on backpacking in San Francisco, check out One Night Wilderness: San Francisco Bay Area: Quick and Convenient Backpacking Trips within Two Hours of San Francisco [Paperback]

Leave A Comment...