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7 Great San Francisco Bay Area Hikes

7 Great San Francisco Bay Area Hikes

If you love foggy mornings, historical monuments, and ocean views, you should consider doing some Bay Area hikes.

From the sea lions in San Francisco Bay to Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz prison: This area has no shortage of tourist attractions.

And while you’re in town sightseeing, you might as well enjoy the scenic hiking trails.

Let’s explore seven of the best hikes in the area!

What Region in California Is Considered the Bay Area? 

The Bay Area is in Northern California, and it includes San Francisco and Silicon Valley. It also includes Napa Valley, which has some of the best vineyards and wineries in the state. It’s full of hills and mountains, lakes and beaches, and plenty of quality food and wine. 

Pro Tip: Love wine? While exploring the Bay Area make sure to check out Napa. Read more to find out How to Spend a Day in Napa Valley, California.

High perspective photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Enjoy famous tourist sites and beautiful nature when hiking in the Bay Area.

Why You Should Go Hiking in the Bay Area 

The Bay Area is, first and foremost, wonderfully cool. Because it’s a generally overcast and windy area, the weather is usually perfect for being outside without getting overheated and dehydrated. It’s also stunningly gorgeous, from the mountains to the beaches, not to mention both Redwood National Park and the Muir Woods.   

Pro Tip: Want some fresh air and adventure while traveling through California? Make sure to check out The Best National Parks In California.

Couple hiking up stairs to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Overcast and windy weather makes for great hiking conditions to avoid overheating while on trail.

7 Great Bay Area Hikes 

The Bay Area has a variety of scenic views, so everyone can enjoy their favorite. It also offers different level hikes to cater to all kinds of trailblazers, whether you’re just starting or working yourself up to hike Mount Diablo. Let’s see seven of the best Bay Area hikes.

1. California Coastal Trail 

Go big or go home! This trail covers the entire length of California, connecting its beaches to form one long hike. The hike spans more than 1,200 miles and, in the bay area, includes San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge. You can do parts of the trail by bike or on horseback. If you can’t get enough of the beach and want to dedicate yourself to an iconic hike, this one is worth checking out. 

2. Gerbode Valley Loop 

This 5.3-mile loop is a popular one and is located in Sausalito, California. It’s perfect for beginner hikers who want to start pushing themselves a little harder to test their limits. In addition to some beach views, this hike also showcases the Marin Headlands and the San Francisco Bay. 

3. North Ridge and Sunset Trail Loop 

You can reach this 4.8-mile hike by taking a ferry to Angel Island in Belvedere Tiburon, California, which is all part of the fun. Wildflowers surround the trail. From the topmost point, you can see Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay. This hike is open all year long and charges a small fee at the entrance. 

4. Cataract Trail Loop 

If you love waterfalls, this is the bay area hike for you! This trail covers 7.7 miles of waterfalls in Fairfax, California, as well as a lake. You can bring your dog, as long as it’s leashed, and enjoy pushing yourself through this advanced hike. 

5. Baltimore Canyon via Dawn Falls Trail 

This 5.9-mile trail is in Larkspur, California. Feel free to bring your dog to explore the waterfall and watch the birds on this moderate hike. This is an especially good choice on sunny days when you want a little shade while you walk. 

6. Coastal and Fox Trails Loop 

This moderate riverfront hike in Sausalito, California, stretches 6.3 miles. From Muir Beach to Muir Woods, every moment is picturesque. This ocean view loop gains 1,663 feet in elevation, so bring lots of water. 

7. Palomarin Trailhead to Alamere Falls 

This moderate-level hike is in Bolinas, California, at the Point Reyes National Seashore. It features a waterfall that connects to the Pacific Ocean, as well as ocean, lake, and island views. Don’t attempt this hike during high tide, as it does include climbing down some rocks right at the entrance. 

Pro Tip: Want to find more fun hiking trails while in The Bay Area? Download these 5 Best Hiking Apps for Finding Trails.

Plan Your Bay Area Hike

San Francisco is an iconic American city known for its bridge, historic prison, beautiful nature, and amazing bread and chocolate. If you’re a food or wine connoisseur, history buff, or movie fanatic, the Bay Area is a great spot to visit.

Reserve your camping spot in Redwood National Park or the Golden Gate Recreational Center if you want a view of the bridge. Which of these Bay Area hikes will you tackle during your visit?

Woman hiking through a forest.
Whether you like forests, waterfalls, or coastal trails, The Bay Area has a hiking trail for everyone.

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