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San Francisco? Good place for Backpacking?
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Matthew Thomas
(caramelmarx) - F

Locale: Southern California
San Francisco? Good place for Backpacking? on 10/26/2010 23:04:14 MDT Print View

Alright guys. I'd be lying if I said my undergraduate school choice was not partially being influenced by the relative location of it to some good backpacking spots, so is there anything happening up in San Francisco? I see there are some mountains and possibly redwoods nearby but i'd like some first, or at least second hand knowledge.


Jesse McKinney
(jessemckinney) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
SF, Excellent place to hike on 10/27/2010 03:45:15 MDT Print View

I grew up in the Bay Area, and can attest to the fact that it's a wonderful place to hike. There are some amazing parks literally within walking distance. After having moved to the East Coast I'm surprised at how I miss real mountains...

Jesse H.
(tacedeous) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
yep... on 10/27/2010 05:02:42 MDT Print View

ola! there are MANY spots to hike, I'm in the east bay (oakland area) you will be amazed at how you're able to find serenity so close to the chaos...

my first recommendation is Pt.Reyes, hike those trails (I just completed all of em' this month)you'll never get tired of this tri-geographical location...

also, join in on the local trips! I've met some amazing people through this forum, and had a blast on subsequent trips

Heck, I'm down to sleep under the stars anytime, hit me up!

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
hiking yes, backpacking no on 10/27/2010 12:06:55 MDT Print View

The hiking here is outstanding.

The backpacking - meh. There simply are not very many backcountry sites; and, with few exceptions, they tend not to be in the most interesting parks.

I reserve backpacking for the Sierras.

Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
agreed on 10/27/2010 15:07:14 MDT Print View

tons of hiking, but not much backpacking. the closest backpacking spots i like are pt reyes and henry coe, which are both great in their own way, but i prefer the sierras. big sur is also somewhat close.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
San Francisco? Good place for backpacking? on 10/27/2010 15:43:02 MDT Print View

Mt. Diablo is a great place for backpacking, There is a BPL article on Mt. Diablo from last month by Jeremy Pendry and Tony Wong. Sunol is a another backpacking option with a lot of open space to be hiked on. Mt. Diablo is a excellent area to escape from the city-lots of trails, wildlife, different types of geography. Like the other posters said Pt. Reyes is probably #1, Henry Coe St Park, Big Sur, Ventana Wilderness..Enjoy the area and please come and join the backpacking trip to Pine Valley,Ventana Wilderness-February 25-26TH with about 40 BPL members attending..

Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
Pt. Reyes on 10/27/2010 17:16:31 MDT Print View

I'm glad someone created this thread, I was wondering the same thing. It's a cinch to get down to SFO. I've been checking out the weather channel religiously for the past week.

About Point Reyes, is it more of an overnighter, or can one stretch it to 3-4 days? Does one just pick one site and hike the numerous trails in park? Or can one move to another site the next night?

I'm assuming it's a pretty small park. Another member -- Amy -- did a trip report where she walked from the city to Point Reyes. I'll have to check re-read, I'd like to avoid renting a car if I could.


Chris S
(csteutterman) - F

Locale: Tahoe
Re: Pt Reyes on 10/27/2010 17:37:58 MDT Print View

It can be stretched. My typical 3 day/2 night loop is Bear Valley Visitor Center to Coast Camp to Wildcat Camp then back to the Visitor Center. Not a lot of mileage, maybe around 6 miles each day?? I also usually do a quick side trip to Alamere Falls. There's some other trails to explore, but I'm not too familiar with them.

Here's a trail map:

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
excellent hiking + some backpacking easy reach; great backpacking within hours drive on 10/27/2010 17:45:26 MDT Print View

Only been out here about 2 years after New England hiking and backpacking, but I'll second what others have said above - excellent hiking within easy reach including state parks such as Big Basin big‎ (largest redwoods concentration south of Redwood National Park, has 7 waterfalls, winter is a great time to visit), Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District parks , etc.

Some backpacking nearby such as Pt Reyes, Henry Coe, Mt. Diablo, etc.

For backpacking with grand scenery, several hours drive to the Sierras - Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Tahoe, etc. Trinity Alps very nice too from photos I've seen. Fall/winter is a beautiful time to visit the Sierras.

Great local hiking resource with detailed trail descriptions:

You can get very good backpacking trip ideas by checking out the SF Sierra Club and UCSF/Stanford/UC Santa Cruz/UC Berkeley outdoor programs upcoming and past backpacking trips as they run so many trips. Also trip reports here on BPL.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Kayaking; comfy B&B route through Mt. Tam on 10/27/2010 17:49:40 MDT Print View

If you are looking for a comfy spoiled experience with nice views, a NY Times writer did a piece in the last several years about hiking 3 days from the beach to SF through Mt. Tam, staying 2 nights in local inexpensive B&Bs. Easy search would bring it up.

You can also do kayak overnights - think there's overnight sites for kayaks in Tomales Bay right next to Pt Reyes with places to rent from. Believe there's an island site you can paddle to. You could probably combine a kayak and backpacking trip very easily.

Nick Garner
(nwgarner) - MLife

Locale: Silicon Valley
South Bay on 11/05/2010 21:57:49 MDT Print View

I live down in the south bay in Sunnyvale.

For day hiking on the peninsula, check out the Open Space Preserves.
Look at the preserve finder. One of them, Monte Bello, has a "back country" camp. It's only a ~2 mile hike though. I've been a couple times and always enjoy it as a quick over-nighter.

For a couple 30 mile hikes:
The Skyline to the Sea Trail
The Ohlone Wilderness Trail

I've done both of those hikes and enjoyed them very much. The first has some huge redwoods once you hit Big Basin near Berry Creek Falls and the second has some nice views from Rose Peak and Mission Peak.

As another hiker mentioned, Henry Coe is about an hour down south from here. You could spend weeks in their back country if you felt like it. A round trip hike to Mississippi Lake is about 25 miles I think. It can get pretty hot in summer down there though, however in summer you'll probably be heading out to the Sierra since it's so close. Many hikers around here use Henry Coe for winter backpacking and conditioning for summer hiking up in the mountains, it's pretty hilly down there.

This Meetup group does a lot of hiking down there.


Edited by nwgarner on 11/05/2010 21:58:52 MDT.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
San Francisco? Good place for backpacking? on 11/05/2010 22:12:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info Nick---Great resource.I will be in Henry Coe sometime in March.