It’s winter in the bay! Which means…basically nothing has changed. If anything, there’s a slight nip in the air, but it fades away quickly to the sun and we’re reminded again of why California is the best.
In the past few years, I’ve picked up hiking as one of my favorite weekend activities. It’s economical, social, and a great way to be outside. While the rest of the country is shivering, I’ve been frolicking in and around SF looking for new places to explore. I’ve done these three hikes in the last couple months that are perfect for if you’re looking for a day trip adventure outside of SF. You don’t need to be an expert hiker (I’m def not); you just need a car (or a friend with a car), good shoes, some snacks, and you are good to go.
Here are my favorite winter hikes around SF:
This is the closest to SF, although it actually takes the same amount of time to get to because of the ferry schedule. The ride is an hour long, so plan accordingly; you’ll want around 3-4 hours here. Bring water and snacks and walk the perimeter of the island as well as the top of Mount Livermore, which isn’t as much a mountain as a glorified hill. But the views of SF are amazing, especially on a clear winter day.
Located right outside of Half Moon Bay, this is a pretty hidden spot. I grew up right around here but never knew this existed until a co-worker told me to check it out. The trail is full of tall trees and narrow dirt roads, making it a lush hike that ends up being anywhere from 6-10 miles depending on which routes you choose. You can take the scenic route back up the 1 to San Francisco.
Sonoma is still recovering from last year’s fires, making this hike beautiful and melancholy at the same time. There are lots of burned trees along the way, but it’s heartening to see the wildlife recovering slowly as you walk deeper. The best part is the lake, which gives a sweeping view of the landscape and also seems to emerge out of nowhere (what is it with these hidden hikes?). Snacks of choice: cheese, salami, and wine for the picnic tables at the entrance.
Bonus: Hike the actual point of Point Reyes. One of my favorite day trips from last year!