Five Family-Friendly Hikes in the Golden Gate National Parks

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Tennessee Valley trail

Looking for easy day hikes with where you can enjoy spectacular views, explore newly restored habitats, and maybe even spot some wildlife, but don’t know where to go?

Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite hikes, in and around the Golden Gate National Parks, that we think you and your whole family would enjoy this holiday weekend—or any weekend.

Lands End Trail

 

Length: 2.9 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Notes: Partly wheelchair/stroller accessible; dog-friendly

This rugged stretch of coastline in the northwest corner of San Francisco features breathtaking vistas of the Golden Gate Strait, the new Lands End Lookout visitor center, and access to the epic ruins of Sutro Baths.

For transportation options and more on the history of the area, click here.

Phleger Estate: Miramontes Trail

 

Length: 4.6 miles (7.4 kilometers)
Difficulty: Easy
Notes: Horses permitted

Formerly the estate of a respected San Francisco lawyer, this area is now in one of our southernmost sites in the Golden Gate National Parks, and it features tumbling creeks and majestic second-growth forests of redwoods and firs. Evidence of logging industry and steam mills is still evident along the park’s Union Creek, too.

For more on the history of Phleger Estate and directions, click here.

Tennessee Valley Trail

 

Length: 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Notes: Partially wheelchair accessible; bike-friendly

Named after the wreckage of the SS Tennessee, this valley in the Marin Headlands serves as the perfect day hike for all members of the family. If you coordinate your trip with low tide and seasonal sand alignments, you can still see the engine of the shipwrecked SS Tennessee from the cove at the end of the hike.

For more on directions and tips, click here.

Golden Gate Bridge

 

Length: 3.6 miles (5.8 kilometers)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Notes: Stroller and wheelchair accessible; bike-friendly

What’s more synonymous with San Francisco than the iconic Golden Gate Bridge? If you have visitors from out-of-town, the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge is the ideal hiking destination. Its 1.7-mile span overlooks the Golden Gate Strait and the San Francisco Bay, while offering many vantage points for a family portrait.

While here, be sure to check out the new Bridge Plaza on the San Francisco end, which features the Bridge Pavilion welcome center, historical exhibits, and interpretive items for sale—perfect for holiday shopping!

For more on visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, click here.

Mori Point

Length: .05 mile

Difficulty: Easy

This flat 1/2-mile hike to the coast leads families over a boardwalk specifically designed to allow water to run down the hillside into ponds that thrive with aquatic life. The threatened California red-legged frog lives in these ponds, next to its top predator, the endangered San Francisco garter snake. The ponds were constructed for both species to coexist and are amazing places to witness such a magnificent example of nature. Once you reach the coastline, families can either take the thrilling Bootlegger Steps to Mori Point or take the laid back and multi-use Coastal Trail that winds up the hillside. At the top, families can enjoy spring wildflowers or perhaps spot the seasonal migration of whales in the winter!

For more ideas, visit our website and find a site and trail in the Golden Gate National Parks that’s perfect for your family—and your appetite for adventure.

Ryan Curran White is the Senior Social Media and Web Content Specialist for the Parks Conservancy.

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