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The wonderful idea of the newly unveiled San Francisco Crosstown Trail is to make one big link, from Candlestick Point to the Presidio and Lands End, so you can walk or bike from one end of the city all the way to the other.
But the best parts are the little links throughout.
Take the Visitacion Valley Greenway. If you’ve never been, and you’re simply following the cue sheets for the Crosstown Trail, you’ll stumble into the first mid-block garden oasis and marvel at this hidden gem.
Emerge, and you’ll cross the street to another hidden path. Then another, and another, until you realize you’ve traversed several blocks of a large San Francisco hill entirely via garden trails.
Those continuously connecting green spaces are what make the Crosstown Trail such a vital new addition to the San Francisco urban park landscape. Since the trail route was announced on June 1—National Trails Day, of course—hundreds of people have been discovering the city in this awe-inspiring new way.
“That’s exactly what we’re seeing as people post to our Facebook and Instagram page and comment, they’ve made this their own,” said Karen Rhodes, one of the co-organizers of the project. “They’ve hiked it with friends, with visiting out-of-town relatives, with their dog, with their baby, they’ve found a way to embrace it. It’s really lovely to see.”
Amid the bevy of hidden gems along the trail are some within our Golden Gate National Parks. You might discover a new way to get to Baker Beach, or the quiet of the Lobos Creek Valley Trail, broken up only by lizards scampering across the boardwalk.
And along the route are many more hidden gems, of which we won’t ruin them all. But we recommend following the cue sheets, which provide commentary you won’t find on a map, like a side trip to an urban farm behind Laguna Honda Hospital.
With that in mind, here are some more tips for planning your own Crosstown Trail experience:
One of those great little links is through the Glen Park Greenway, which runs next to busy Bosworth Street. You could spend your whole life driving down Bosworth from Twin Peaks to Interstate 280 without ever knowing the Glen Park Greenway is there. Thanks to the Crosstown Trail, now we have a new way to get from Glen Park Canyon to the rest of the city.
Those connections are what make the Crosstown Trail so wonderful. We hope you’ll have a chance to “make it your own” soon.