Guidebook

Best Trails for a Picnic Day in San Francisco

Picnic spots and cafés along these family-friendly trails make them ideal for spending most of the day outdoors.

Description

In San Francisco, warm and sunny days are not always easy to come by, so you’ll want to make the most of them when they occur. To spend the whole day outside, you should plan for a picnic or a café convenient to the trails. Luckily, San Francisco has many possibilities for meals on the go with great views.

At Lands End, mellow footpaths lead to clifftop benches in view of the Golden Gate, plus the famous Cliff House Restaurant over the ocean.

Take a stroll with unbeatable views of the bridge on the Golden Gate Promenade, pause for a picnic on the lawn or the beach at Crissy Field, then have a hot drink at the Warming Hut Bookstore & Cafe near the wharf.

The Presidio Cafe sits right on the Bay Area Ridge trail, and makes a convenient starting point for a hike or bike ride through the urban forests and seascapes of the Presidio.

Biking or walking through Golden Gate Park, you’ll find grassy lawns and secluded picnic areas, as well as the Japanese tea house with its lovely gardens, and the Beach Chalet restaurant right on the coast.

Hike to the summit of Angel Island, in San Francisco Bay, then refuel with a picnic or specialty meal at Angel Island Café.

Battery Wallace, near Point Bonita Lighthouse in Marin Headlands, has “one of the parklands’ most scenic picnic spots,” according the the National Park Service.

On Cataract Falls Trail, have a picnic by the creek at Laurel Dell before retracing your steps downhill past all the mossy waterfalls.

Hike the strenuous Steep Ravine and Matt Davis Loop, starting or finishing at the laid-back but ever-popular Siren Canteen in Stinson Beach.

Lands End Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Lands End Loop

San Francisco
1 - 2 hrs
5.1 km
155 m
155 m
Stroll through historic Lands End, in a beautiful forest, atop high sea cliffs, with lofty views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Moderate
Private
Golden Gate Promenade
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Golden Gate Promenade

San Francisco
0 - 1 hrs
4.3 km
57 m
5 m
Stroll through an urban park with many activities, and enjoy views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Easy
Private
Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Presidio
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Bay Area Ridge Trail: The Presidio

San Francisco
8.1 km
124 m
124 m
Cypress forest and ocean views on an urban trail route to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Easy
Private
Golden Gate Park Bike Path
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Golden Gate Park Bike Path

San Francisco
11.1 km
105 m
105 m
Family-friendly bike ride through Golden Gate Park to the beach.
Easy
Private
Angel Island Summit Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Angel Island Summit Loop

Marin County
1 - 2 hrs
8.2 km
270 m
270 m
Views over the San Francisco Bay and rich history on the hike to the top of Mount Livermore.
Moderate
Private
Point Bonita Lighthouse and Battery Wallace
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

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
Cataract Falls from Alpine Lake
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cataract Falls from Alpine Lake

Marin County
1 - 2 hrs
4.4 km
380 m
389 m
A bounty of waterfalls and a peaceful picnic area on Cataract Creek.
Difficult
Private
Steep Ravine - Matt Davis Trail Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Steep Ravine - Matt Davis Trail Loop

Marin County
2 - 3 hrs
10.9 km
534 m
534 m
An excellent bang-for-your-buck loop with a variety of terrain and scenery.
Difficult
Private