- Sweeney Ridge: Sweeney Ridge is a fire trail just off of the 280 freeway in San Bruno. It is about an hour and a half total, up and back. There are a few stunning spots with vistas of the ocean and the Crystal Lake reservoir. It gets steep in some parts , but is fully paved, so you can stop, even sitting down on the provided benches to smell the roses, so to speak. There are other off shoot trails, but I haven't ventured off yet
- Guadalupe State Canyon, Crocker Street Entrance: This trail is just at the top of Daly City, beginning with a flat wooded trail ("to Grandmother's house!" LOL). Eventually you make a choice to go up or around the ridge. There are bunnies and geckos regularly spotted here, and lots of foot traffic. If you follow the ridge trail to the very end you will walk 4.5 hours out and back and actually end up at a fence overlooking the freeway in Brisbane. You can see both bridges from the top, and my usual trail is about 1.5 hours total.
- Filbert Street Steps: I adore city hikes, and the gardens lining the stairs of SF do not disappoint! I begin at the bottom of Green Street and make my way up, up, and to the top, enjoying vistas, circle around the paved streets and down the Filbert Street stairs back to the Financial District. People generally move to the left for us slow and steady beginners. I go about 2 hours around the city this way, and time flies when you are having fun.
- Purissima Creek Trail: In Half Moon Bay there is a creek trail which can be entered from the top or bottom, and both are easy to moderate. There are giant banana slugs here at times, reminding me of Alice in Wonderland! The light shines through the redwood forest just like in the Hobbit movies. I swear I saw fairies the first time I hiked here. It is about a 3 hour hike all the way around, but if pressed for time, I suggest go out and back as long as your time permits. The water flowing alongside your hike is delightful to witness
- Mori Point: In Pacifica, I park next to the Moose Lodge on Bradford Way and walk a flat path for about a mile to the Mori Point stairs hidden next to a huge tree that looks like a windswept bonsai tree. Once you climb these stair, which are not more than 3 minutes uphill, you will be rewarded with trail options, views, and picture perfect dotted islands to make people think you live in the Riviera or Mediterranean! The hike time all the way up and back is about an hour, but if you walk along the beach to the pier where people are fishing, 2.5 hours total
- Fairy Gates Trailhead: We have redwoods in the city of San Francisco! This hidden gem connects through neighborhoods in the Mount Sutro Open Space Preserve, close to UCSF housing for staff and graduate students. Once you enter the pathways, you will descend into a lull from the noise, hustle, and bustle of the city. After about half an hour you will end up next to someone's home on public stairs going down, cross the street, and continue the magical escape! It takes about an hour and a half total if you hit all of the trails
- Corona Heights Park: This city park begins like a playground, but keep following your nose, and you will end up, up, and upwards, the stairs getting narrower an narrower. The wind will pick up, and then as you are wind whipped, you will find bliss in the views! I park near the Randall Museum and make my way up from there. It is south of Buena Vista Park. It takes about an hour to complete.
- Roberts Recreational Area, Oakland Hills: My friend had an engagement party in the redwood grove here, just off of the parking lot. It was like entering a movie set, because there was a pool and kids playground to the left, redwoods to the right with bathrooms and picnic tables, and at the end of the parking lot were miles and miles of trails. I actually got lost here once, so the trails are not always clearly marked. You can go as short or long as you like, but I suggest in and out, not looping off onto other trails!
- Cataract Falls Trail: Worth the drive to Fairfax, this trail is part of a watershed and boasts 3 (!) waterfalls! This is full of stone steps up and down, so take lots of break and add electrolytes to your water. It took me 3 hours up and down, and I rate this as moderate to hard.
I hope you enjoy these hikes as much as I do.