Sugarloaf Ridge State Park has several trails that offer good exercise and great views. From the Planet Walk to the trails near Bald Mountain this is one of my personal favorite north bay hiking spots.
Whether you’re disc golfing or hiking, Crane Creek offers gorgeous views in the Spring with green grass, wildflowers and oaks covered with spanish moss.
An easy 5 mile hike through Helen Putnam Regional Park in Petaluma offers views of hills of rolling grasses and oak savannah.
A gorgeous hike above Cascade Lake to Cascade Falls. Granite peaks, Lake Tahoe and snow covered mountains make a perfect backdrop for this hike to cascading waterfalls above Cascade Lake.
This fairly short but strenuous hike offers a good workout and great views of Lake Berryessa, and the higher peaks of the Central Coast Range including Mount Saint Helena.
A portion of the San Francisco Bay Area Ridge Trail runs through the Benicia Vallejo Buffer separating the cities with views of the northern San Francisco Bay and the Carquinez Strait.
Moore Creek Regional Park and Open Space is a new park in Napa with trails that are still under construction. One trail is complete offering 3.8 miles of hiking, with two others being constructed. Great views, a hidden pool and diverse terrain intermixed with cows.
Near the intersection of Hwy 29 and 12 in Napa is a trailhead for the Stanly Ranch Public Trails which are a non-contiguous (for now) portion of the San Francisco Bay Trail whose goal is to encircle the bay with a trail for hiking, biking and jogging. Perhaps the least exciting place to hike for right now…
This fantastic north bay hike to the summit and beyond in Mount Hood Regional Park and Open Space Preserve is challenging but very rewarding with great views and a mix of terrains and trail types.
A short stroll through Maxwell Farms Regional Park in Sonoma brings pleasant views of oak and bay trees along a nice creek. Easy walking with no hills.
A nice short hike through oak woodlands with a lake through Sonoma Valley Regional Park in Glen Ellen.
Currently only open weekends, this hike through Lynch Canyon Open Space has great views of Napa valley and the San Francisco Bay with over 10 miles of trails to choose from.
This area in Angwin is a great stop for mountain biking or hiking with many unnamed trails meandering through the oak and redwood forests near Los Posadas State Forest.
A nice, small park with a vast number of trails, grasslands, oak woodlands, a lake and a number of rock formations and boulders offers nice views of the east bay.
Great short coastal hike within the GGNRA Marin Headlands offers several trails to choose from in a valley leading to the coast.
Sunset Campground in Crystal Basin Recreation Area offers fairly spacious sites with great access to Union Valley Reservoir. A great place to camp.
A short, easy hike with great views in China Camp State Park on the western shore of San Pablo Bay.
Starting at Summit Lake this relatively easy hike to Echo Lake takes you by several smaller lakes and includes crossing a beautiful meadow. Excellent views of Lassen Peak and Bumpass Mountain.
This loop trail around Silver Lake in Lassen County takes you through a pine forest and up on a rocky bluff overlooking the lake. Several small mountain lakes and large picturesque trees greet you.
Several short loop hikes to choose from through Oak woodlands and grassy hills in Windsor, CA.
This great hike in Novato, CA at the north end of the San Francisco Bay Area takes you through 4 different parks, starting at Ohair Park, onward to Little Mountain OSP, a short stroll through Verissimo OSP and on through Indian Trees Open Space Preserve.
Great spring hike in Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve offering miles of trails, scenic hilltop views and wildflowers galore. Watch for cow patties.
A great trail in spring, the Sonoma Ridge Trail is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail offering wildflowers, butterflies, historic sites and some great views.
Short hike on a hill in Bernal Heights Park in southeastern San Francisco with great views of the bay and city.
A beautiful and serene hike from Aetna Springs to Wildlake through Napa County in late winter.
This hike through Claremont Canyon is a good leg workout and offers breathtaking views of San Francisco and the bay.
A brisk winter walk along the beach of Lake Tahoe from Camp Richardson through Taylor Creek offers history, wildlife and great scenery.
Hikers flock to this scenic hike on sandy stairways along the Pacific coast with views of the Marin Headlands, Golden Gate Bridge, and the northwest tip of San Francisco.
A great walk through Ecocentro Danaus near La Fortuna in Costa Rica. Farmland reforested by nature chock full of plants and animals.
A great hike in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest on the famed Sky Walk. Great flora and fauna and well constructed bridges.
Hiddenbrooke Trail in Fairfield offers great views west toward the north portion of the San Francisco Bay and southward toward Mount Diablo.
A beautiful historic hiking trail along an old wagon wheel rutted road which once led to Oat Hill Mine where material for quicksilver was mined until the 1960s.
Free parking at Lincoln Park in Napa for the trailhead of the River to Ridge Trail in Napa offers a good hike with lots of options for loops through Skyline Wilderness Park.
The hike to Traverso Homestead in Bothe-Napa State Park gives visitors a taste of everything the Bothe-Napa State Park has to offer.
Find a nice day and take a hike on the short Matin’s Path trail to the Pacific Ocean near Stinson Beach.
Marin offers this great coastal hike in Northern California on the Steep Ravine Trail. Gorgeous redwoods, ocean views, and a cool sea breeze welcome you.
Summer camping at Lake Mendocino in Northern California with plenty of water to play in, and a disc golf course nearby!
A hike on the Lake Hennessey Trail in northern Napa county offers wildflowers, lake views and an abrupt end at a No Tresspassing sign.
Hiking along serene San Francisco Bay wetlands converted from a landfill and salt production area. This is a birder’s paradise with a large amount of wildlife, both winged and not.
Took a very short hike along the beach at Limantour Beach in Point Reyes. The beach is very long and not all that crowded. The beach’s proximity keeps the waves fairly small here.
Great camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park tucked in the Marin hills and kept cool by big redwood trees and a nearby creek.
One of my personal favorites, the hike on Tomales Point Trail in Point Reyes is almost ten of the most scenic miles you’ll ever find yourself hiking. Tule Elk, wildflowers galore and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean in northern Pt. Reyes.
A fairly strenuous 11 mile hike on Napa Land Trust parklands, the John Hoffnagle Trail starts at Poppy Flats and takes you along Deer Lake, Wild Lake and Rattlesnake Ridge.
Gorgeous hike in Archer Taylor Preserve takes you to the top of Maggie’s Peak for a great view of the San Francisco Bay Area and to Devil’s Well and a number of other waterfalls while hiking among pines, maples and redwoods.
A 10 mile loop trail through Santa Rosa’s Anndel State Park offers great northern California meadow views, Ilsanjo Lake, and lots of red clay trails with a number of boulders scattered about.
Healdsburg Open Space Preserve offers a fairly new network of trails with several loops and a small pond (Fox pond) for hikers with views of Healdsburg Simi Valley and the Russian River.
A short hike with good views overlooking the city of Sonoma and into the San Francisco Bay, the Sonoma Overlook Trail offers a few miles of single track trails and a couple loop choices.
This little-known trail takes hikers above Rector Reservoir on Department of Fish and Game land with excellent views of the Napa Valley from the east.
A historic hike from Bothe Napa State Park on the History Trail to Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park. Several biomes, an old cemetery, and a grist mill are on the agenda with this hike.
A short hike around trails through Tomales Bay State Park. Fern-covered forests and several beaches await.
Two separated hikes along the Napa River Trail offer 10+ miles of hiking with two very different feels. Eventually this trail will be contiguous with a middle section added to connect them.
A hike through Knoxville Wildlife Area leading to a little known seasonal North San Francisco Bay Area Waterfall offers solitude and poison oak!
A hike to the top of Bald Mountain (2729 ft) in Sonoma County’s Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood offers a multitude of biomes, excellent wildlife viewing, and supreme views of the North San Francisco Bay Area.
Watch for a nice clear day and escape the heat hiking from San Pedro Valley Park to Montara State Beach and McNee Ranch starting in Pacifica and ending in Montara, CA.
Timberhill Park offers a nice serene hike among grassy hills and oak trees on the west side of Napa, CA. Bring your cowbell and you’ll fit right in. Take a side journey to a fun rope swing.
This fairly long loop trail takes you to the top of Sugarloaf Peak in Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa, CA. The elevation change is about 2200 feet and this hike treats you to excellent views and a number of varying terrains
Snoswhoeing around frozen Spooner Lake in Nevada was a very scenic and fairly easy trek. Spooner Lake is located a little inland from the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe.
A gorgeous vertical hike along the Cataract Falls Trail on Mt. Tamplpais in Fairfield, CA. Seemingly endless waterfalls cascade along this wooded out and back trail. The hike ends with gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean overlooking Bolinas.
A very short but bird-filled hike through Napa Ecological Reserve east of Yountville and north of Napa, CA.
Table Rock and the Palisades Trail offer an excellent wine country hike just outside of Calistoga, CA from the same parking lot as the hike to Mount Saint Helena. This trail heads South and East from the lot along rocky peaks visible on the drive up.
Breathtaking views from the top of Mt. St. Helena, the highest peak in the Northern San Francisco Bay Area. And how can you beat free entry into Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.
A great hike in Napa Valley to Bothe Napa Valley State Park (on the closure list). This hike was to Coyote Peak and a couple other trails to make a loop through Ritchey Canyon.
Skyline Wilderness Park is a county park in Napa with a lot of different activities including two of my favorites: Hiking and Disc Golf. Play an 18 hole course or hike one of the eight trails through the park.
A very dog-friendly park on the west side of Napa with an off-leash area. Several short trails to choose from, this is a very wide open park with very few trees surrounding a wine vineyard.
A vast number of shorter distance single track and fire road trails await among rolling hills, oaks and mossy rocks in Napa.
A volunteer guided 11 mile out and back group hike along the Fifield-Cahill and Bay Area Ridge Trails starting at Skyline Quarry out to Mile Marker 5.75 and back.
A weekend of camping at Pogie Point Campground on Lake Pillsbury located in the Mendocino National Forest.
A 4.6 mile hike through Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve winds through oak woodlands and chaparral in San Carlos just east of Hwy 280.
A pleasant hike in Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve which contains a nearly 500 acre woodland full of interesting native plants and rare animal species offering views to the bay and the SF watershed.
A simple but scenic 2+ mile hike encircling Spooner Lake in Nevada-Lake Tahoe State Park.
The Fifield-Cahill Trail meanders through Douglas Fir forests in San Francisco’s watershed between Crystal Springs Reservoir and Lake Pilacitos. The land is owned by the SF Public Utilities Council and only guided hikes are currently permitted.
Russian Ridge lies east of Palo Alto right off Hwy 35 a little south of Hwy 84. Grand views of wind swept hillsides mixed with shaded oak forest and a natural spring await.
This is a short, easy hike at elevation to Grass Lake in Desolation Wilderness from the Glen Alpine Trailhead. Time your trip well or you may experience a lot of snow, flooded trail, and several dangerous river crossings.
Camp Richardson is a resort on the Southwest end of Lake Tahoe off Hwy 89 shortly north of the Y in South Lake Tahoe. They have a general store, restaurant/bar, beach access, and offer camping for RVs and tent campers.
The SF Bay Trail’s most southern portion of the San Francisco Peninsula runs along a couple sloughs with plenty of wildlife habitat including areas set out for endangered species.
The SF Bay Trail circles the San Francisco Bay. This paved hike’s portion of the trail starts at Shoreline Park in San Mateo and ends beyond the San Mateo bridge in Foster City.
Gorgeous tree-canopied hike through the Redwood Loop Trail and it’s giant redwood trees, followed by an out and back journey to Berry Creek Falls along the Skyline to the Sea Trail.
Continuing my exploration of the SF Bay Trail, this section was in Burlingame on the peninsula and included Coyote Point County Park.
The Sawyer Camp Trail in San Bruno is a popular paved trail for bicyclists and hikers which runs alongside San Andreas Lake, a reservoir for the San Francisco area’s drinking water.
The Tomales Point Trail is a 9.5 mile hike along a northern peninsula of Point Reyes National Seashore between Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Herds of Tule Elk, flocks of sea birds, wildflowers, and excellent coastal views treat hikers on this beautiful hike in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The San Francisco Bay Trail is over 500 miles of mostly paved trails that encircle the San Francisco Bay. View a description and photos of a hike along the portion south of SFO in Millbrae and Burlingame.
The best tidepools in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve isn’t much of a hike but offers you freedom to walk around expansive tidepools and a perfectly clean beach. Watch for low tides to visit.
Somewhat seasonal, Yosemite Falls is one of the highlights of visiting the National Park. A nice short hike that isn’t too wet and offers a number of great photograph opportunities.
Bridalveil Falls flows year-round from Bridalveil Creek and is the first set of falls seen as you enter Yosemite Valley. Prepare to get a little wet on this nice, short and paved hike to it’s base.
Great views and a pleasant trail through the northeast end of Yosemite Valley, the hike to Mirror Lake is a must do short hike while visiting the Yosemite Valley.
Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite lies in the Yosemite Valley east of Curry Village. It is the closest to Happy Isles and the Mist Trail with a seasonal creek behind some of the sites. Site 174 was great.
Gorgeous views atop some famous hills in San Francisco, Twin Peaks north and south summits might be crowded, but the view is worth a visit at least once.
The tallest peak in San Francisco, Mount Davidson park bears a giant cross statue and has several short trails to choose from. Shade awaits at the top.
The lengthy SF Bay Trail runs alongside the SF Bay and 3COM/Candlestick Park in the section named Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. Two and a half miles of scenic bay hiking to be had here.
Take a ferry to hike or bike on the gorgeous island called Angel’s Island State Park. Excellent 360 degree view of the San Francisco Bay from Mount Livermore, the highest point on the island.
Wow, the beaches here are gorgeous and the Pacific Coastal Range rises abruptly along Highway 1 South of Monterey at Garrapata State Park.
The Presidio has a lot of hiking trails situated in the northwesternmost part of the city. Great views of the Golden Gate and Pacific Ocean await.
The Land’s End trail on the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco offers an excellent and relaxing hike with gorgeous sunset views.
Crocker Park Recreational Trail in Brisbane is a nice little exercise trail if you happen to live in the area. If you’re looking for a destination hike from a distance, look elsewhere.
Eagle Falls is a scenic set of subalpine waterfalls from Eagle Creek which flows from Eagle Lake above. Probably best in summer but you can go anytime. Be sure to check out the upper and lower sets to take in all the views.
McLaren Park is a large city park on the southern end of San Francisco. In addition to an offleash dog walking area it has a couple reservoirs, water towers and a few miles of hiking trails with some wonderful views of San Francisco.
This section of the San Francisco Bay Trail is in South San Francisco and Brisbane, California. The Bay Trail will eventually surround the entire bay. This is a very scenic and non-crowded section which has a number of good photo opportunities.
An excellent winter hike through Muir woods including the Bootjack trail, Troop 80 trail, Panoramic trail, Sierra Trail and the Camp Eastwood trail. Views of flowing creeks, the Pacific Ocean, Redwoods, ferns and mushrooms.
I bet Scooby Doo wouldn’t have tried sailing around Mussel Rock. This was an odd hike. The area is full of landslide, and landslide protection. In fact you hike on it. Will have to visit on a clear day but the highlight is definitely making your way down to the rocks at low tide right by Mussel Rock itself.
Mid winter was a great time to go see Alamere Falls in Pt. Reyes. The easy terrain makes this medium distance hike seem like nothing. There are three sets of waterfalls, two lakes and some mud along the way. There is a minor climbing challenge to descend to the very bottom falls, which are the best of the three.