San Francisco sits on the doorstep of nearly endless trails among the coastal mountains of the Bay Area. This list covers a wide range of terrain and distance from the city, so you can find your perfect trail running fix.Less
This route includes some of the best coastal scenery in San Francisco, as well as some of its more interesting historic sites. The length and location make it perfect for a morning or evening workout when visiting the city, or for locals who want to quickly revisit classic San Francisco sights. The route mostly follows the California Coastal Trail on dirt paths, passing through Sutro Heights and Lands End.
The redwood forests of the East Bay are some of the prettiest in the region, and they’re practically within the metro area. Redwood Regional is one of a few interconnected parks that show off second-growth redwoods and a mix of other forest types. In this expanse of lush greenery and furrowed hills, it’s easy to forget how close you actually are to the city, but easy access by roads and trails from Oakland make it super convenient for afternoon or weekend workouts.
Dipsea is well-known by trail runners in Marin County, and by many in the greater Bay Area, as the course of an annual race as well as an every-day favorite for fitness. This 7-mile footpath links some of the best scenery between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach, passing through Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais State Park. It begins in an urban forest, dives into deep redwood groves, climbs to rolling grassland and panoramic ridgelines, and finishes at the beach.
Mount Tamalpais is the crown of Marin County at nearly 2,600 feet elevation, and it rules the horizon around most of the Bay Area. There are many routes to the top, but this loop is king of them all. It begins at sea level in Stinson Beach, ascends the south slopes to tag East Peak, then descends on the north and west slopes. The huge ups and downs make a punishing workout, and it may be the best mountain running circuit in the Bay Area.
Huddart Park is a very popular family destination near Woodside and Emerald City. As such, the main trailheads and picnic areas get quite busy, but most visitors do not venture very far down any trail. That leaves many miles of uncrowded singletrack winding along the wooded mountainside that are perfect for trail running!