The Bay Area Ridge Trail trail climbs north from the Pacific Ocean at Mussel Rock Park past rows of boxy Daly City homes before crossing into San Francisco at Lake Merced and proceeding to Stern Grove. The trail then moves northeast to Twin Peaks and Buena Vista Park before cutting back across The Panhandle and turning north to the Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge. Highlights include a sampling of city neighborhoods and parks, and views of San Francisco and beyond from the 900-foot peaks.
We are hiking the 400-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail. Sign up to follow our progress here.
TRAIL MAP (date hiked)
- Mussel Rock to Lake Merced (Aug. 27, 2021)
- Lake Merced to Stern Grove (Aug. 27, 2021)
- Stern Grove to Presidio via Twin Peaks (Aug. 31, 2021)
- San Francisco Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge (Aug. 31, 2021)
Before hiking this urban stretch of the Ridge Trail, nearly everything we knew about the residential neighborhoods of Daly City and San Francisco we learned by driving past on Highway 1. We had never leaned into the wind atop Twin Peaks, picnicked in The Panhandle or admired the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco National Cemetery at The Presidio.
In Daly City, the walk past regimented rows of tiny, boxy houses on cramped lots was pretty much what we expected of these neighborhoods of “affordable” million-dollar homes in a region where housing prices have run amuck. The occasional fresh coat of bright paint or carefully tended postage-stamp sized yard really popped.
The hike up to Noe Peak (south) and Eureka Peak (north) was easier than expected, but the chill wind at the top contrasted sharply with the balmy conditions on the streets below. The view was magnificent, and the homes coming down the north face were stunning, with prices to match, per Zillow.
One practical advantage of hiking in the city is the availability of a hearty hot lunch after a morning of hoofing through the streets. In San Francisco, we detoured from the official Ridge Trail route to enjoy the colorful counterculture sights and sounds of Haight Street and pick up lunch at Street Taco.
Back on course, we ate our lunch sitting in the grass of The Panhandle, a long and narrow park jutting out of the east end of Golden Gate Park. To the north, at The Presidio, we enjoyed our walk in the woods and the stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge beyond the rows of somber monuments to veterans and fallen soldiers at the national cemetery.
Another advantage of city Trails? No car shuttling or out-and-back hiking necessary. We returned to our car via Uber.
Miles we hiked0
(with returns and connectors)
Our Progress Hiking the Bay Area Ridge Trail – 151.7 out of 400 miles39%