A 9 mile hike in the surprisingly expansive Crockett Hills Regional Park provides views of the Carquinez Strait, Mt. Diablo and Mt. Tamalpais while hiking through grasslands, chaparral and oak woodlands.
Newell Open Space Preserve in American Canyon offers a 5+ mile loop trail among grasslands and a eucalyptus grove, with two historic ranches viewable in the background.
Through the Napa Land Trust, you can occasionally gain access to a great guided hike at Mead Ranch on Atlas Peak which offers a hike through woodlands and grasslands with views over Napa Valley.
The Philosopher’s Way trails in McLaren Park in southern San Francisco, CA offer a thought provoking walk through Eucalyptus woods and grasslands with some great views of San Francisco from the south.
This is a short 6 mile hike or bike section of the Great california Delta Trail starting from the Westin in Sacramento.
A nice coastal hike in Northern California in Salt Point State Park takes you through the Pygmy Forest and down to the Pacific Ocean.
Without a defined trail to follow, this flat and windy wildlife area allows you to explore at your whim. I saw a ton of tule elk, sea otters, ducks and other birds on my adventure.
Great hike in Granite Chief Wilderness on the Five Lakes Trail led to a bountiful Morel foraging.
Private hike on Mother’s Day with the Napa Land Trust on Tuteur Ranch and a glimpse at some potential future trails of the Napa Solano Ridge Trail.
This is a great local hike in Napa at Skyline Wilderness park to its highest point and the first of a number of segments of the Napa Solano Ridge Trail.
Hiking the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and continuing on to hike to Nevada Falls is an epic adventure that you won’t soon forget. To make this a loop trail consider taking the John Muir Trail back down to the trailhead.
A gorgeous unseasonably snowy spring hike along a portion of the Yosemite Valley Loop Trail to the Mirror Lake and Snowy Creek Trails.
Who knew such a great waterfall existed so close to home? No stranger to Bay Area waterfalls, I’m going to say this guided hike to Green Valley Falls is definitely in the top 3.
Situated on the San Francisco Bay, China Camp State Park offers camping, picnicking, great mountain biking, and a number of hiking trails to make for some great loop hikes.
A snowy late winter hike to Lake Marlette east in Lake Tahoe State Park in Nevada from the Spooner Lake Trailhead.
Great hike through private and protected land overlooking the Napa Valley and the town of Calistoga. On this trip we were treated to distant downpours and great clouds.
Off Hwy 1 in Carmel, the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve offers a number of trails with views of marine animals such as Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Whales, Dolphins, and Sea Lions along with great coastal views among Cypress groves.
This 8.5 mile hike takes you on the Bay Area Ridge Trail and winds along Moore Creek, with a couple creek crossings, before climbing into the hills overlooking Lake Hennessey.
This is a great hike to a seasonal waterfall on the Canyon Creek trail at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, continuing on to a nice loop around the meadow at the center of this park.
The short hike to Cascade Falls offers a great trail with views of Cascade Lake, Lake Tahoe and many of the peaks that surround the lake, leading to Cascade Falls in Desolation Wilderness.
This short hike to Linda Falls in Angwin treats hikers to a great waterfall that will inspire the photographer in everyone.
A great 8.5 mile hike to the top of Fiske Peak via the Blue Ridge Trail from Cache Creek Recreation Area.
A great hike in Napa County through Napa Land Trust lands takes you to the top of Maggie’s Peak for some great views before descending to the multiple falls at Devil’s Well.
A counterclockwise 7 mile loop through Lynch Canyon and into Newell Open Space Preserve offers nice views of the San Pablo Bay, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tamalpais, and Mount Saint Helena as you wind through the grassland hills. Lots of cow encounters await as well.
A rainy 10.8 mile hike with 2800 feet of elevation gain on the Judge Davis Trail down to Wilson Valley offered great views and some seriously mud-caked hiking shoes.
Cows, mushrooms, and views of Napa Valley and the northern section of the San Francisco Bay await you on this loop hike through Lynch Canyon Open Space.
Probably best during warm weather, this hike through Benicia SRA offers nice views of the most narrow portion of the San Francisco Bay and includes unique views of the Carquinez Bridge.
My first mushroom foray proved extremely bountiful through the pygmy and coastal forest of Salt Point State Park.
A short hike along Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA offering nice coastal views and beach-worn glass.
Gorgeous northern California hike along the coastal bluffs of the Pacific Ocean in Mendocino.
Great 12 mile out and back hike with gorgeous fall colors overlooking Napa Valley on the Oat Hill Mine and Palisades Trail.
Great hike in southwestern Lake Tahoe from Glen Alpine Trailhead in Desolation Wilderness up to Lake Gilmore on an Autumn day.
A gorgeous fall hike on a rainy day through Jack London State Historic Park with a wine picnic among giant redwoods and ferns.
Pretty hike on a not-so-maintained hike to Veteran’s Peak in Yountville behind the Veteran’s home.
A fall backpacking trip to Poverty Flat at Henry Coe State Park offers some great views and a wide variety of trails to choose from.
A nice showing of Fall colors, this hike to Maggie’s Peak and Devil’s Well is a personal favorite any time of year, but it’s a real treat after some rainfall.
A beautiful hike in the sierras to two subalpine lakes with calm lakes mirroring the sparsely forested granite peaks and cabins surrounding them.
Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland has numerous trails winding through Eucalyptus and Redwood groves with some excellent views of Oakland, mountain biking opportunities, and a wide variety of hikes to discover.
A great backpacking trip from Glen Alpine Trailhead to Susie Lake, Heather Lake, Lake Aloha, Lake Gilmore and other small lakes in Desolation Wilderness.
This was a short hike with fire roads, single track, a waterfall, great views of San Francisco and its bay, and a look down into the canyon with Muir Woods.
A gorgeous but foggy coastal hike on the Kortum trail from Shell Beach to Goat Rock Beach offers a great hike through coastal wetlands on wooden walkways and a great view of shale bluffs and the Pacific coast from Sonoma Coast State Park.
This hike through the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias at Yosemite National Park might be crowded, but it yields breathtaking examples of some of the earth’s oldest and largest trees.
The hike down to the Sequoia tree grove at Tuolumne Grove in Yosemite is hilly but hikers are rewarded with numerous large Sequoias and an old tree tunnel, without the crowd.
This is a nice short hike to Grass Lake from the Glen Alpine Trailhead into Desolation Wilderness with a view of Grass Lake, Lily Lake, the waterfalls into Grass Lake and a few streams that are required to cross.
Gorgeous hike with tremendous panoramic views circling and summiting the peak of Mt. Diablo in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wildflowers, vast views of the Bay Area and wildlife await.
A ranger-led hike on the Smittle Creek Trail at Lake Berryessa is an informative hike along the lake and creeks full of wildflowers and wildlife
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Monte Bello Open Space Preserve has a lot of trails to choose from, some of which have nice flora/fauna signage. There’s a great mix of open grass hills and fairly dense oak forest. A small creek has running water all year and offers some nice areas to relax.
Excellent coastal hike in Pacifica and Montara, CA to the summit of Montara Mountain. Excellent views and a great variety of trails, flora and fauna.
Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is in Portola Valley with several parking areas. Several trails to choose from including a couple strenuous and long loops with a good range of ecology.
San Bruno Mountain State and County Park offers excellent views of San Francisco from the south side and a view of the bay, Mt. Diablo, and even Mt. Tamalpais. The moderate Ridge Trail is my favorite and gives you a taste of the whole park.
Part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail (though not technically much of a ridge), this is a nice place to hike around in sand dunes in Daly City if you can find a day without fog. Probably best in the early fall.
We took the longer trail from Eagle Point Campground along Emerald Bay and down into Vikingsholm where we took the paid tour. Very scenic and relatively easy hike. Best in summer.
Several nice short but scenic hikes await at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center area, which serves as parking. We hiked on Pope Beach, the Rainbow Trail – which is a trail about the wildlife and plants in the area, and the Mt. Tallac Historic Trail along old log cabins from the first settlers.
Miles of hiking trails through redwoods, fir trees, and a creek, the El Corte De Madera Open Space Preserve is a destination for hikers and bikers.
This is a very beautiful and serene hike near Half Moon Bay with a perfect amount of elevation change and differing views. One of my favorites on the peninsula, go check it out!
Hiking along Fort Funston can be a little crowded but offers great ocean views and a special treat in having hang gliders flying by you as you walk.
Mori Point is on the more northern side of Pacific on the peninsula. It’s a fairly short hike but offers some minor elevation change and great views of the Pacific ocean. Stop by the cafe at the pier for a snack.
A stroll through the Redwoods in Woodside, CA in Wunderlich County Park. Included are the Bear Gulch Trail and others.
A cool hike through redwoods in Woodside, CA, Huddart County Park offers several choices in trails with fair distance and a nice foresty feel.
A hike along the coast in Pacifica, CA. Milagra Ridge County Park is currently going through restoration (and preservation). Offers great views north to Mt. Tamalpais and south along the Coastal Mountains.
A short but nice hike through Junipero Serra County Park in San Mateo, CA. Included are photos from the Quail Loop Trail and more.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 150 mile loop along ridges surrounding Lake Tahoe. One of the easier sections is this hike to Spooner Summit with parking right off Hwy 50 in Nevada beyond the south shore state line.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located in the Santa Cruz mountains off Hwy 35. Giant trees and a cool shady hike with waterfalls await.
Ano Nuevo is west of Hwy 1 not too far north of Half Moon Bay. Dramatic earthquake faults and coastline mixed with sand dunes and elephant seals.
Land’s End is on the far north west edges of San Francisco and the peninsula. This hike offers great views of beaches, cliffs, the Golden Gate Bridge, several shipwrecks and boats sailing.
Hiking on Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica offers views of the bay and the ocean. It is the site of a few old military buildings and the Portola Expedition’s Discovery Site.