Best Bay Area Hikes

Best Bay Area Hikes

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  1.  The Bay Area of San Francisco is lush with natural beauty and excellent hiking. To visit every exquisite example of this region’s high quality trails could take decades, if not a life time. From the easy inclines and views of the beginner trails to arduous adventures with big pay offs, the Bay Area features hiking trails for every skill level. 

    • Monte Bellow Open Space Preserve
      The name of this open space preserve means ‘beautiful mountain’ and it lives up to the name. Beginner hikers may find the incline up to Indian Creek a bit trying. Moderate and master hikers will traverse the 5.9 mile loop trail with ease, enjoying the views from the total elevation change of 1,000 feet. 
       
    •  Gerbode Valley, Marin Headlands
       While this hiking trail in the Gerbode Valley is moderately to heavily trafficked on weekends, visitors who venture onto the trail, marked at the head as Rodeo Valley, on a weekday will find they pretty much have it to themselves. To walk the complete trail would mean hiking the 4.6 mile loop trail. Be sure to wear sunscreen as this trail does not have shaded areas.
       
    • Los Trancos Open Space Preserve
       For a combination of great hiking and earthquake education, a trip to the Los Trancos trail is ideal. The loop trail here extends for three miles and is easily traversed by experts and beginners alike. A moderate pace around the trail will take about an hour and a half and will improve not only a hiker’s health but also understanding of the San Andres Fault. 
       
    • Summit Loop
       Low brush and an easy elevation make the hike around the 3.7 mile Summit Loop trail as enjoyable as it is relaxing. While this loop takes about two hours to complete at a moderate pace, it is close enough to several other popular trails to make an entire day out of this Bay Area park.  The trail here is somewhat rocky, but still appropriate for beginner hikers and families with children not in strollers.
       
    • Angel Island State Park
       Angel Island State Park is home to two of the Bay Area’s excellent and most popular loop trails. The obvious spots in the area can be somewhat crowded with tourists, like the visitor center, but the trail itself is only sparsely populated. The first trail is an almost completely level five mile loop and the other is a bit more difficult and leads to the summit. There is some shade here, but mostly it is out in the open. 
       
    • Deer Park
       The quintessential Bay Area view can be seen while hiking the trails at Deer Park. A two hour hike around the 3.4 mile loop trail around the area near Mount Tamalpais will give hikers an experience in the shade and sunlight of the coastal wood and grasslands. The benefit of making this hike is witnessing the waterfalls in the canyons and wonderful cool weather in the valley. This being the most popular trail head in the Mount Tamalpais system, be prepared for moderate crowding.

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