The 10 Best Bay Area Hikes

best bay area hikes

If you’re looking for some amazing hikes that showcase the beauty of Mother Nature, the Bay Area offers some of the best hiking views and conditions you’ll find.

Instead of spending your time trying to do the research and narrow down all of your hiking options, we’ve compiled the 10 best Bay Area hikes that need to be on your radar.

While there happen to be many to choose from, make certain that you’re able to tackle these if you find yourself in the area. From stellar views to one of a kind terrain, you’re certain to find a trail or two here that will make an impact on your hiking memories and future treks.

Here’s our list of the 10 best Bay Area hikes:

1. Mori Point

Located in the Golden Gate National Conservatory, this hiking trail offers a varied terrain. Choose between a simple 1/2 mile hike or you can do a more challenging 1.5-mile hike instead.

What makes this one of the best Bay Area hikes is that the entire area is blooming with beautiful flowers. Taking a hike during the months of April and May will ensure that you’ll see some of the brightest colors and stunning views.

Make certain that you pack a jacket as you’ll notice the winds increasing as you get near the top. Get ready to see a wide variety of landscapes are you hike along and around the point.

Distance: 2.4 mile loop

Elevation Gain: 331 feet

Difficulty: Intermediate

Mori Point

2. Alamere Falls

Taking this trek will get you stunning beach views and some of the most unforgettable sunsets that you’ll ever see. In addition to those beautiful views, keep your eyes peeled for a waterfall sighting as well.

If you’re interested in taking a dip, there’s a swimming hole at Bass Lake that has become increasingly popular as well. This hike can be a tad bit difficult so it’s important to know that before starting. Don’t let the shortness of the trail throw you for a loop. You still need to be prepared for a moderate hike.

Distance: .4 in length

Elevation Gain: 0 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Alamere Falls

3. Marin Headlands

With over 74 miles of trails, you’ll need to make certain to plan a weekend trip to be able to explore all the options. Hard to believe that this area is so close to the Golden Gate area and right outside a bustling metropolitan area.

One of the reasons that this offers some of the best hiking in the Bay Area is also because it’s rich in history and culture as well. You can easily find yourself touring the Point Bonita Lighthouse or other historic monuments all along the way.

Combining a day or hiking with exploring the history of the area can be a great way to truly get a feel for everything that the Bay Area has to offer.

Distance: varies with over 50 trails and 74 miles

Elevation Gain: varies per trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Marin Headlands

4. Twin Peaks

There’s really no easy way to tackle this Bay Area hike, but once you decide to do it, you’re going to be happy that you did. There’s only really one way in and out and it takes a bit of stamina to make it happen.

However, the views are what catapults this to the top of being one of the best Bay Area hikes that you’ll do. Keep your head up and see if you can see the sheep or other wild animals that just so happen to be roaming nearby.

Distance: 9.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 3,294 feet

Difficulty: Difficult

View of downtown San Fran from Twin Peaks

5. Muir Woods

These hikes will offer you some of the best views of the redwood trees, ever. Walk with your head looking up as you aren’t going to believe the stunning views.

The trails in this area are of all different skill level but there are some that are paved even as well. Just choose wisely on the ones that you’re going to do, especially if you’re taking little ones with you on the trip.

Distance: Varies depending on the trail

Elevation Gain: Varies depending on the trail

Difficulty: Easy – Difficult

Muir Woods

6. Angel Island

What makes this one of the best hikes in the Bay Area is that you’re literally on an island, enjoying over 6 miles of trails that will show you every angle of the island. It’s seriously like your own little piece of paradise that you can explore on foot.

The other really cool aspect of hiking on this island is that you’ll get stunning panoramic views of San Francisco. Does hiking get any better than that?

You can choose between three different trails that will all showcase the beauty of the surroundings.

Distance: Varies depending on the trail

Elevation Gain: Varies depending on the trail

Difficulty: Easy – Difficult

Oakland Bay Bridge to Angel Island

7. Mt. Tamalpais

You’ll be starting at the bottom and working your way all the way to the top. This hike isn’t for the faint of heart as there are some tricky parts to have to get through.

You’ll want to get there early as it’s a crowded hiking area due to the popularity. People love to start at the base and accomplish being able to climb all the way to the top. And once you do the same, you’ll see why it’s voted one of the best. Those views just can’t be replicated anywhere else.

Distance: 8.7 miles total length

Elevation Gain: 2,416 feet

Difficulty: Intermediate/Difficult

Summit of Mount Tamalpais

8. Tomales Point Trail

If you’ve always wanted to see stunning views of the Pacific coast, this is the hiking trail for you. It’s actually a fairly easy hike that is family-friendly as well. Bird watching and seeing if you can see elk are just part of the journey! There are actually about 450 native elk that graze and roam the lands.

This is one of the more popular hikes in California because of the ease and views that it offers.

Distance: 9.8 miles total length

Elevation Gain: 996 feet

Difficulty: Easy/Intermediate

Elk on the Tomales Point trail.

9. Mt. Diablo

Take your pick of 50 different trails at this location. These trails add up to be over 70 miles of hiking options. That means that anyone of any level can hike here with ease.

Hikers can choose to stay on level ground or kick it up a notch and see just how high up they can go. With this many trails to try out, one could easily spend several days hiking and never get to see everything that this area has to offer.

Distance: Varies depending on the trail

Elevation Gain: Varies depending on the trail

Difficulty: Easy – Difficult

Mount Diablo

10. Dipsea Trail

Not only does this trail offer amazing sights, but it’s also home to the oldest trail race in the United States. The beginning of this trail actually starts out with 688 stairs to climb to really get your heart pumping.

This trail is more for the intermediate hiking crowd as there can be some tricky spots to try to navigate through. If you were to walk this trail from start to finish, it would take 3-4 hours to be able to do so.

Distance: 6.6 miles total length

Elevation Gain: 1,539 feet

Difficulty: Intermediate

As you can tell from these great hikes, there are a lot of choices to find in the Bay Area. From stunning views to impressive skylines, you’re certain to not be disappointed in what you can see and explore.

Looking towards Stinson Beach from the Dipsea Trail

FAQs

How far is Muir Woods from San Francisco?

It’s actually not all that far at all. From a distance perspective, it’s about 16 miles. If you’re driving in a car and don’t have to worry about traffic, you could get there within 35-40 minutes. However, if there is traffic and you’re stuck in it, you’re going to find out that it will take you more than an hour to arrive.

Where can I watch the sunset in the Bay Area?

The Bay Area is known for having some amazing sunsets. If you’re out and about, you’re going to want to catch a view. Anywhere that you can get a clear open view of the sky is going to be a win but some of the top places to see a sunset would include the Golden Gate Park and also Lands End Trial.

Both are situated so that you can get a total view of the beautiful sunset easily.

Can dogs walk on the Golden Gate Bridge?

While dogs used to be allowed to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge, they are no longer able to. The reason for this is that the bridge has heavy foot traffic from people walking as well as a lot of bikes that are traveling on it as well. It can get crowded quickly and can be fast-paced.

Just because the dog isn’t allowed on the bridge doesn’t mean that they’re not allowed at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It’s a great place to relax and let you and your pup explore a bit and get some fresh air.

 

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