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Mission Peak after snowfall

The Best of the Bay Area's Challenging Hikes

Challenge yourself with these worthy trails just outside San Francisco.

Hiking Moderate, Difficult

Mission Peak after snowfall
Mission Peak after snowfall Photo: Charlie Day


California’s highest mountains and wildest wilderness are within a day’s drive of San Francisco, but you don’t even have to go that far for a worthy challenge. A day well spent in the outdoors is one where your hiking time is much longer than your driving time, and when you come home exhausted but exhilarated. That’s easy to accomplish in the Bay Area, thanks to an impressive landscape and cities that maintain convenient access to it. In a short trip from home you can take on miles of rugged coastline, deep pockets of hilly forest, and heaps of rolling ridgelines. Plus, with a cool climate that’s conducive to endurance days for most of the year, there’s little excuse not to push yourself to explore it all. Let this sample of challenging Bay Area hikes inspire you to do just that.

Routes included

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