Hiking in Golden Gate National Parks

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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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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...
Poppies overlooking Fort Cronkhite and Rodeo Beach
activity
  • 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...
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...
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...
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.
Spectacular views of Golden Gate from the Marin Headlands
activity
  • Hikes
This hike will take you to the top of one of the most famous lookout spots in the Marin Headlands , and is an easy jaunt from San Francisco. Get there by taking the twisty and scenic Conzelman Road, which offers many amazing lookout spots with ample parking. Pull over...
Colors of sunset wash over Sutro Baths
activity
  • Biking
The most gorgeous view possible of this location occurs during sunset. The rocky shore is even more dramatic when the surf is rough against it and the sun a warm orange-pink. The short path, beginning in the parking lot of Lands Ends Lookout off Point Lobos Street, will lead you...
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...
Wildflowers abound atop Mori Point
activity
  • Hikes
Length (Roundtrip): 3.2 miles Elevation Gain: 298 feet Difficulty: Easy Mori Point is a great place to enjoy a sunset, scan the waters for whale spouts, or simply enjoy the waves of the Pacific Coast washing up onto the shores. Remember to check out the ridgeline trail too, where you...
Aerial view of the former Mill Valley Air Force Station atop West Peak
activity
  • Birding
For a look at the old Air Force station, start at the Mountain Theater overflow lot and cross Ridgecrest to start on the Rock Spring-Lagunitas Fire Road. Continue to Potrero Meadow and on to Rifle Camp. From there, cross the dry creek to the Arturo Trail and hike up to...
West Point Inn
activity
  • Hikes
Difficulty: Moderate A wonderful loop hike on Mt. Tam with a stop at the historic West Point Inn for lemonade or a snack and a panoramic view.
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...

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