Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you cannot fully enjoy nature in the Bay Area. Fortunately for residents and visitors, hiking is one of those things you can do almost year round in this part of the United States. Get out and enjoy nature as you trek your way through beautiful scenery, take in fresh air and become one with nature on one of our favorite hiking trails.
- San Bruno Mountain, Summit Loop
- Skyline to the Seas Trail
- Sweeny Ridge
San Bruno Mountain, Summit Loop
The San Bruno Mountain Summit Loop is nestled in California’s oldest state park, Big Basin, and is a 3.5-mile, moderate half-day hike. Most people who make this hike begin by heading west along April Brook where you can expect to view several rare species of flora and fauna.
The views from this breath-taking hike are worth the trek. Sutro Tower stands tall and prominent to the north, while Mount Tamalpais sits in the background reminding hikers of their impressive incline to the summit. At the top, some 1,314 feet, you are rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the entire bay area. Beautiful coastal backdrops and unique views of Mount Diablo to the east help to make this trail one of the most popular and pleasurable hikes for locals and residents alike.
Skyline to the Sea Trail
The Skyline to the Sea Trail is a 29-mile hike, usually completed over a 3-day period. This popular Bay Area favoritestarts in Castle Rock State Park at Saratoga Gap and descends from the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Prepare to be wowed as you can expect to see several variations of wildlife, colorful wildflowers and majestic trees dating back thousands of years.
On the second day of this trail, hikers enter Big Basin Redwoods State Park and descend into an old growth of majestic redwoods. Scientist estimate many of these trees range from 1,000 – 2,000 years old and have survived through drought, fire and other inclement weather. On the final day of the trail (also considered to some as the best part of the hike), hikers descend through old growth, passing along Berry Creek Falls and ending at Waddell Beach.
Sweeney Ridge Trail
The Sweeney Ridge Trail is twelve hundred feet above the Pacific Ocean and traverses the most northerly part of the Santa Cruz coastal range above the small town of Pacifica. This hike has several routes, ranging from easy to moderate and gaining anywhere from 600ft to 1,400ft of elevation.
Pack binoculars and a camera with this hike as you may cross paths with deer, coyotes, grey foxes, hawks or even a bobcat while taking in sweeping views and incredible natural scenery. But be aware of your surroundings as these animals are wild and are not used to humans.
The Sweeney Ridge Trail is open to hikers, bicyclists and equestrians from the early mornings until dusk. Pack a lunch, bring plenty of water and be sure to wear good hiking shoes. On colder days, it is recommended to pack an extra layer of clothing and a compass in case the fog rolls in.