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Are there any hikes in the Bay Area...
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James DeMonaco
(jdemonaco) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco
Are there any hikes in the Bay Area... on 10/18/2010 13:10:52 MDT Print View

That are accessible via the BART or bus or combination thereof? I'm going to be based in downtown SF and I'm looking for some good day-hikes and overnighters as well but I won't have a car.

I'm wondering if anybody else knows of some good spots that are accessible with the amazing public transportation of the bay.

Thanks in advance! :)

Edited by jdemonaco on 10/18/2010 13:11:23 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Are there any hikes in the Bay Area... on 10/18/2010 16:10:23 MDT Print View

Here is one.

Jason Lande
(jtlande) - F
Re: Are there any hikes in the Bay Area... on 10/18/2010 23:04:40 MDT Print View

I'm certain folks will give you some ideas and personal recommendations, but something that might help in the meantime is:


Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Bay Area Public Transit hiking on 10/18/2010 23:57:53 MDT Print View

Ken already linked to one of our "hike out of the city" trip reports above.

If you want an overnight trip that minimizes transit time and maximizes hiking time, I'd start in the city, walk over the bridge (or take a bus over the bridge if you don't have time to walk across) and then north to the campground at Pantoll (in Mt Tam State Park), then return via the Sausalito Ferry. That's essentially the southern third of the walk in that trip report.

Or, if you don't want to walk as far as Pantoll, then use one of the GGNRA backpack camps (Haypress or Hawk). Or, stay at the cabin at the Green Gulch Zen Center. Or, stay at the fancy Pelican Inn in Muir Beach.

Here's the map of our entire trip, but in two days you'd just do the southern chunk.

About half of Marin County is public land, including most of the southern third and western half. Beautiful coastal mountains. Fantastic hiking. There are many agencies with adjacent lands: Golden Gate National Recreation Area (the biggest chunk), Mt Tam State Park, Muir Woods National Monument, Marin Municipal Water District, Point Reyes National Seashore, Samuel P Taylor State Park.

There are many trail options in the Marin Headlands region of GGNRA to choose from, you certainly wouldn't need to follow the route we chose. It's all good stuff. You can download basic maps of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area ( and Muir Woods National Monument (

Any San Francisco bookstore will have trail maps. This one, for example, covers the southern most parts of Marin County:

To get detailed routing from the GGNRA trails to the Sausalito Ferry, zoom in on our gmap-pedometer map (but use the + icon, don't double click on the map).

There's another hike out of San Francisoc that I never wrote a trip report about, but here's a link to the annotated photo show.

We hiked from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, then took bus and CalTrain back to the city. There is public transit from Half Moon Bay, which would shorten the walk considerably. Also, you could take the MUNI (N-Judah line) out to Ocean Beach if you didn't want to walk around the north side of the city.

There are a few hostels which could be interesting.

A good reference if you are considering this hike

And for day hiking, you can't beat crossing the bridge into the Marin Headlands. There are plenty of public transit options. As Jason already mentioned, look at or

Drop me a PM if you have more questions. Amy

Stephan Doyle
Re: Are there any hikes in the Bay Area... on 10/19/2010 00:12:04 MDT Print View

I'm just off a CalTrain stop and have a car. While I'm not free every weekend, I try to get out into the woods as much as possible. Shoot me an e-mail anytime and we may be able to work something out.

James DeMonaco
(jdemonaco) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco
Thanks everyone on 10/19/2010 20:44:04 MDT Print View

I appreciate the information!

I lived in SF for about three years and I'm just getting ready to move back up there. I know the public transit pretty well so I was hoping to get information just like you guys provided. That is really really helpful!

This is such a great forum, seriously I don't know what I would do without it.

Thanks everyone!

When I move back up, I'll see about posting some trip reports, specially if I find a good trail that wasn't mentioned, or if I end up creating my own loop :)

Thanks again!

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Another tack on 10/20/2010 10:57:20 MDT Print View


Yet another tack is to list some of what are considered the "best"/most unforgettable hikes in the area. Then, use to plot out the transport from your location to the trailhead. Decide if it's reasonable haul...or if (alternately) you really need a friend with a car to go there!

My very favorite book is "101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area" (by Moon Outdoors). Get it now. It details many of the hikes that follow.

My "Best hikes in the Bay Area" list would include...(mostly these are day hikes)

1. North side Mt. Diablo, any trails, lots of singletrack, climb the mountain or do one of many less ambitious loops. Back Creek Trail and Middle Trail are favorites. Waterfalls loop is nice too. Order a map of Mt. Diablo State Park in advance. You need to get to downtown Clayton (if on transit) or to the end of Regency Drive in Clayton (if driving). Olympia Trail is also fantastic but trailhead is hard to find and you need a car.

2. Steep Ravine Trail/Matt Davis Trail from Pan Toll Ranger Station (along the Panoramic Highway over Mount Tam), or, alternately, you can start/end in Stinson Beach. There is a little bus that runs out to Stinson Beach from Mill Valley and Marin City; should identify it.

2a. An alternate, similar trip would be to start in downtown Mill Valley, find Old Mill Park, and hike the 7.5 miles of the Dipsea Trail to its end in Stinson Beach.

3. Angel Island State Park. Ferry from downtown Tiburon. Angel Island is more of a long stroll. Good if you're with a friend who's not an uber-hiker. Get to the singletrack.

4. Berry Creek Falls loop, Big Basin State Park. Trail starts at park headquarters in Big Basin. Good overnight option is the backcountry camp ("Sunset") out by the falls.

5. Murietta Falls, from Del Valle Regional Park. Forget public transit; bring a friend with a car, who also doesn't mind hiking straight uphill for 3000+ feet.

6. In Marin County, get to Tennessee Beach and hike to Muir Beach; or get to Muir Beach and hike to Tennessee. The best trail between them is the singletrack that hugs the coastline.

7. Top of Mount Montara. Starting point is San Pedro Valley County Park in Pacifica.

8. Peters Grove, from the main entrance in Portola Redwoods State Park. Car needed. Some day I will bike there from Caltrain.

I've done a hundred hikes in the Bay Area, those are my Top 8 and I'm sticking to them ;) Would love to hear others' opinions here.

The inland hikes (Diablo and Murietta) are far, far more interesting in the spring, with the green and the wildflowers. Go there between February and mid-May. Frankly, I don't bother after May; it's too hot/brown out there.

A bike helps *a lot*. Sometimes I take public transit (most buses have bike racks in front), bike to the trailhead, and either lock the bike up or hide it in the woods. Sometimes this is faster than waiting for the local slow bus; and/or it adds a pretty bike adventure to an already nice hike.

For the Marin hikes, you can ride your bike across the Golden Gate Bridge straight to the trailhead; or cut some time/effort by taking a bus across the Golden Gate and then biking from, say, Marin City or San Rafael to your trailhead. Lots of Peninsula parks (such as Wunderlich Park) are very quickly accessed by bike from Caltrain stations. I've biked to Big Basin but that was a very long haul with a lot of climbing. Buy a bike map of the Peninsula and a bike map of Marin. I've also biked to the Mt. Diablo trailhead in Clayton, by taking BART to Concord Station and riding out Clayton Road.

- Elizabeth