There are numerous hidden stairways and passageways in San Francisco, and even several housing enclaves that are only accessible by foot. The Filbert steps, for instance, connect the Embarcadero and Telegraph Hill. Along the way, there are benches, offshoot alleys, and lanes (Napier Lane). Numerous lush gardens run along either side of the steps, with colorful flowers and diffused light streaming through. There are numerous wood benches along the way to pause and soak it all in. You might just see a flock of wild parrots. Once you reach the top, you find yourself at the peak of Telegraph hill, a short walk to Coit Tower, and just a few blocks from North Beach and Chinatown.
Lands End is at the Northwest corner of San Francisco, just where the open Pacific funnels into the San Francisco Bay. Standing at Land’s End the Golden Gate bridge is to your right, the Marin Headlands off to the north, the ocean to the west, and the Cliffhouse just a short walk away.
If you are feeling more adventurous, the Crosstown Trail is for you. The Crosstown Trail (CT) is a 17-mile urban hike spanning from the southeast to the northwest, with parks, shopping, views, steps, trails, backroads, and all the rest. It is broken into 5 sections, each an adventure on its own.
Candlestick points to Mclaren Park via Visitacion Valley. This is the road less traveled in San Francisco. It is filled with views, discoverable neighborhoods, and restaurants, and you won’t see it on a postcard. Highly recommended.
Glen Park Canyon and Laguna Honda Trail. Like section one, you will get to see an often overlooked part of the city. This is a nature trail, and you may well forget you are in the city limits as you wind over grassy knolls and forested ravines. 3.1 miles.
More great views, the 16h Avenue steps, and neighborhoods. For tourists and locals alike, this section of the trail offers an uncommon route, with peeks into the day-to-day communities and neighborhoods we love. 2.1 miles.
What citywide hike would be complete without visiting Golden Gate Park? Feel free to blaze your trail in the park and explore its many wonders. This section is a hike unto itself. Enjoy. From the park, you exit out into the Richmond District, where you are reminded that San Francisco is a beach town after all. 2.2 miles.
Presidio and Lands End. We covered this earlier, and here you will find artisan shops, restaurants, and joints, China Beach, Baker Beach, the grandeur of SeaCliff, views, and more views. 3.8 miles. Click here for details about the Crosstown Trail.