Activities in the Parks

Can’t Choose Your Own Adventure? Start Here and Go!

With hundreds of miles of trails threading through 37 distinct sites across 80,000 acres of the Golden Gate National Parks, it can be hard to decide where to go and what to do. Let the Parks Conservancy’s experts be your guide! We’ve carefully curated our favorite hikes, walks, and excursions to share with you and your loved ones. There’s something (and some place) for everyone! We reveal some of the natural wonders and historical highlights you’ll experience along the way, but there are plenty more surprises for you to discover. So browse below, then grab your boots and backpack. Your national parks are waiting.

Sunset through the cypress at Lands End
activity
  • Hikes
A morning outing to Lands End provides about as much wilderness as can be found in San Francisco; the beauty is so stunning, it's easy to miss the ghosts. But walk a few minutes under the thick mantle of Monterey cypress and they'll appear. Prop yourself against the crumbling walls...
View over Green Gulch Farm Zen Center
activity
  • Birding
Ditch the summer fog in San Francisco for the sunny peaks of our Golden Gate National Parks in Marin County. Have some fun in the sun on this moderate eight-mile hike and finish it off with a frothy pint at the local "English" inn! Along the way, you'll see newly...
Hikers pause to enjoy the beauty of the Bootjack Trail
activity
  • Birding
This climb up the steep slopes of Mt. Tam reveals beautiful vistas of the Bay Area and the Pacific Ocean. The redwoods of Muir Woods gradually give way to Douglas fir, bay laurel, and tanoak as the trail wends upward. From the Bootjack Campground, established in the early 1920s, continue...
Visitors explore the Cataract Trail
activity
  • Birding
Located on the mountain’s wild northern slope, this hike starts on Cataract Trail, passes the Laurel Dell picnic area, then veers on to the High Marsh Trail and on to peaceful Potrero Meadows via the Kent Trail. The loop finishes with the Benstein Trail. With varied terrain, terrific views, places...
California newt
Parks
  • Hikes
This mellow hike was a joy in spring: wildflowers everywhere, great views, no fog. We chose the hiker-only trails where we could, but bike routes cover similar ground. The views offshore on a clear day are amazing, and the highlight was seeing a pond full of California newts in a...
Crissy Field activities
activity
  • Biking
Restored in 2001, Crissy Field wasted no time in becoming a San Francisco icon and a gem of the Parks Conservancy. The former military airfield now sports a clean, smooth promenade with views of the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, and the North and East Bays. It’s the perfect spot for taking...
Dias Ridge Trail
activity
  • Hikes
A great hike for a morning that starts off steep and rewards the hiker with an easy wander back to a lovely lunch at The Pelican Inn, meanwhile taking in the incredible views of Muir Beach and the ocean. A long-time favorite destination for recreation users, Dias Ridge is named...
Dias Ridge Trail
activity
  • Birding
Descend along a gorgeous new multi-use trail. From Panoramic Hwy you start out at 700' and drop down to sea level at Muir Beach with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean for most of the trip while passing over 20,000 newly planted native plants and grasses. The coastal breezes and...
Women’s Dipsea Hike
activity
  • Birding
Stretching from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, the famed Dipsea Trail is for hikers looking for a challenge. It begins in Mill Valley, climbs over a Mt. Tam ridge, passes through Muir Woods , and descends to Stinson Beach . When funding is available, the Tamalpais Lands Collaborative plans to...
Nike Missile Site
activity
  • Hikes
Starting at road's end in Tennessee Valley , the route starts towards the beach but soon picks up the Coastal Trail and ascends steeply up Wolf Ridge. Staying mostly on the high ridge back, it gives great sweeping views of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, Mt. Tamalpais , the Pacific,...
Soaring red-tailed hawk
activity
  • Hikes
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate With stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco beyond, Hawk Hill Trail brings visitors to the top of the Marin Headlands . During migration season, Hawk Hill lives up to its name with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of hawks spotted in a day. Wheelchair accessible.
Coyote in Rodeo Valley
activity
  • Hikes
Take Golden Gate 70/80 from Civic Center in San Francisco to Marin City transfer station. A short walk through a residential neighborhood will lead you to the Pacheco Fire Road trail head. The trail begins under the cover of gorgeous eucalyptus trees, but quickly becomes exposed to the sun as...

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