If you’re looking for an easy trail with rad views of San Francisco, go no further than San Bruno Mountain. On a clear day you’ll see the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco and neighboring cities, the Bay Bridge, and across the bay to Mt. Diablo. This is a great hike to take your out-of-town friends on so they can get a great view of the Bay Area. Plus, this loop is a short 3.4 miles with not much elevation gain. Popular with trail runners and hikers in the know, San Bruno Mountain should be the next stop on your Bay Area hiking list.
Hike San Bruno Mountain’s Summit Loop Trail for Views of San Francisco
The main entrance is located off Guadalupe Canyon Parkway. Pay the $6 parking fee then head past the first parking lot on the left up the hill to the second parking lot. The Summit Loop trail begins here.
The Summit Loop trail can be taken in either direction. I’ve done it both ways. If you go to the left and head up through the Eucalyptus you’ll get to the views much quicker. This is the way you want to go if you just want some views and don’t plan to hike the whole loop. You also gain elevation quicker so it’s a little bit more of a workout.
If you head to the right you will hike about a mile before you start to climb high enough to start enjoying the view. While the view isn’t great to start with the lush vegetation provides some nice scenery along the way and is wildflower perfection when the time is right.
Cow Parsnip (Heracleum lanatum)
The first views of the city emerge.
Views of Mt. Diablo in the distance.
The Bay Area’s Best Kept Secret
San Bruno Mountain may be the Bay Area’s best kept hiking secret. I’ve never seen more than 2 people hiking here. I don’t think people realize there are hiking trails on the mountain above the “South San Francisco” sign. No crowds, kick butt views, wildflowers, easy to reach, easy parking. While it’s perfect on a clear day it is still worth a visit on a foggy day to see the wildflowers in bloom. For these reasons, San Bruno Mountain is one of my Top 5 favorite hikes in the Bay Area.