Guidebook

San Francisco's Best Hikes for Ocean Views

Experience the many moods of a dramatic coastline on these Bay Area trails.

Description

San Francisco is known for vivid seascapes—from the Golden Gate spanning the bay, to white waves crashing on yellow cliffs, to green meadows meeting blue water. It's also famous for the fog that rolls in from the sea, blanketing the coastal hills and valleys. Though views are sometimes shrouded, they are often all the more sensational in the mist. The only way to feel the many moods of this dynamic coastline is to hike and re-hike many miles of it, in all the various conditions it experiences.

To begin your explorations, try the trails on this list. They capture some of the best coastal scenes to be found, though it's tough to narrow down from such an aesthetic and extensive landscape. Use these selections as a starting point, then find your own favorite ocean overlooks in the Bay Area.

Batteries to Bluffs Loop
The best Adventures on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Batteries to Bluffs Loop

San Francisco
0 - 1 hrs
2.1 km
81 m
81 m
Explore history and scenery along the dramatic coastline near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Difficult
Private
Tennessee Point
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Tennessee Point

Marin County
0 - 1 hrs
2.6 km
80 m
80 m
Hike from Rodeo Beach to a more secluded viewpoint along coastal cliffs.
Easy
Private
Point Bonita Lighthouse and Battery Wallace
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Point Bonita Lighthouse and Battery Wallace

Marin County
0 - 1 hrs
1.7 km
64 m
64 m
Exciting walk through a tunnel and over a suspension bridge to a lighthouse on the tip of Marin Headlands.
Easy
Private
Coastal Trail: Rodeo Beach to Muir Beach
The best Adventures on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Coastal Trail: Rodeo Beach to Muir Beach

Marin County
4 - 5 hrs
18.7 km
1,044 m
1,044 m
Travel up and down panoramic hills above the sea, in between two of Marin County's best beaches
Difficult
Private
Alamere Falls via Palomarin Trailhead
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Alamere Falls via Palomarin Trailhead

Marin County
4 - 5 hrs
21.8 km
607 m
607 m
A waterfall dropping into the sea is the culmination of this wildly scenic, somewhat strenuous, and very popular hike.
Difficult
Private
Tomales Point Trail
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Tomales Point Trail

Marin County
3 - 4 hrs
15.2 km
391 m
391 m
Wide-open views atop a windswept peninsula, with a good chance of spotting wild elk.
Moderate
Private
Point Reyes Lighthouse Path
The best Adventures on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Point Reyes Lighthouse Path

Marin County
0 - 1 hrs
2.0 km
104 m
104 m
Cliff-top walk on a paved path to a historic lighthouse and whale-watching spot.
Easy
Private