Hiking in Golden Gate National Parks

Ideas for specific hikes

hiking at Muir Woods

For many of us, hiking the sprawling and spectacular trail system at Golden Gate is how we experience the parks and encounter their many wonders. More than just a line through the woods or a swath across a bluff, trails are where we can marvel at nature, learn about culture, and understand history.

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Hikers pause to enjoy the beauty of the Bootjack Trail
Hiking
  • 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
Hiking
  • 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
Hiking
  • 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
Hikes
  • 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
Hiking
  • 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
Hiking
  • 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
Hiking
  • 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
Hiking
  • 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
Hiking
  • 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...
Poppies overlooking Fort Cronkhite and Rodeo Beach
Hiking
  • Birding
Beautiful ocean views abound as you meander through picturesque Headlands scenery. This hike to Hill 88, the launch site for Cold War missiles, is a joy in spring: Wildflowers everywhere, great views, no fog. The views offshore on a clear day are amazing, and the highlight is seeing a pond...
Sunset through the cypress at Lands End
Hiking
  • 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...

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