600 Hikes in Bay Area, California
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Views from atop mountain peaks are awe inspiring. Some of these peaks require strenuous 20-mile hikes. Other 'peaks' are merely hills and reachable by 3-mile hikes.

Best time?   Any time of the year except summers when the sun is blazing.


Giant redwoods are awe inspiring. There are over 20 redwood parks near bay area. Each one has nice hiking trails. For best experience, visit in winters, after rains, when creeks are flowing with water and lush green fern carpets the hills.

Best time?   Any time of the year. For best experience, visit in winters, after rains.


Waterfalls in the bay area are seasonal. The best time to see large volumes of gushing water is soon after thunderstorms between January and March. By May, waterfalls lose their vigor.

Best time?   January — March, especially after recent rains.

Lush Green Hills

Lush green hills are common in East Bay. These hikes are best done from March to May, when rains have subsided and trails are no longer muddy. By June, summer has set in, many of the hills have turned brown and day temperatures are high.

Best time?   March — May.


Wildflowers bloom in spring, after rains. In coastal parks like Marin Headlands and Point Reyes, wildflowers continue to bloom into summer as well.

Best time?   March — April.


Hiking around blue serene lakes is a calming experience. There are over two dozen lakes in the bay area with hiking trails meandering close to their banks.

Best time?   Any time of the year.


Trails meandering next to creeks, especially in redwood forests, are among the most pleasant. The sound of flowing water is soothing. Creeks have plenty of water soon after rains, especially from February to April.

Best time?   January — April, especially after rains or thunderstorms.


Among the best hikes in the bay area. Coastal hikes meander along the Pacific Coastline. Some routes go through multiple beaches and some stay along bluff trails, with majestic views of the coastline.

Best time?   Late spring, summer, early fall. By winters, ocean breeze is pretty cool.

Ocean views

These hikes do not go along the Pacific coastline but offer great views of the ocean.

Best time?   Any time of the year.

Bay Views

There are several parks around San Francisco Bay and its myriad arms like Suisun Bay, San Leandro Bay and Tomales Bay. Many of these parks offer hikes next to the bay. Some parks offer hikes to peaks or vista points from which these bays are visible.

Best time?   Spring, fall. Too hot in summers.

Beach walks

Hikes going through a single beach, ranging from one to ten miles long.

Best time?   Late spring, summer, early fall. In winters, ocean breeze is pretty cool.

River Crossings

River crossing hikes are so enjoyable! At first, it may sound odd that we have to wade through a river during a hike. Once we get our feet wet, we feel like doing it again!

Best time?   August — September, when water level is lowest.


Hikes in Pinnacles National Monument, about 90 minutes south of San Jose. Caves are relatively short but a lot of fun.

Best time?   Spring, fall. Pinnacles is too hot in summers.

Full Moon

Night hikes are possible in several east bay parks that are officially open till 10pm. A popular full moon hike is to Mission Peak.

Best time?   Any full moon day when moonrise is by evening.

Cross Country

Cross country hikes are possible on lands that allow us to walk in any direction. Almost all the parks in the bay area disallow walking off trail because it destroys the trails and the surrounding eco-system. However, BLM lands have no such restrictions.

Best time?   Depends on the park.


Some of the lighthouses in bay area are reachable by hikes. Lighthouses offer great views of the Pacific Ocean.

Best time?   Spring, summer, fall.


Hikes going through peaceful Buddhist monasteries and meditation centers.

Best time?   Any time of the year.


Angel Island offers pretty hikes to Mt Livermore with awesome 360-degree views of San Francisco Bay, the Tiburon peninsula and various bridges.

Best time?   Summers.

Low Tide

Low tide hikes are along beaches that are usually impassable because they are under water. During low tide conditions, these beaches open up and offer views of marine life in tidepools.

Best time?   Check tide tables for low tide conditions.


Two hikes are focused on wildlife: tule elk in Point Reyes and elephant seals in Año Nuevo. Otherwise, not much wildlife is seen in the bay area. Deer are sometimes spotted. Cows are common in spring and summer on lands where grazing is allowed. On rare occasions, coyotes, rattlesnakes and bobcats are sighted. Birds abound in forests and marshlands.

Best time?   Depends on wildlife and park.


Some hikes require climbs using ropes that have already been set up.

Best time?   Late spring to early fall.


Some hiking routes have swings along the way. These swings are tires suspended from tree branches with good solid rope.

Best time?   Any time of the year.


Several bridges in San Francisco Bay are walkable. The most famous of them is Golden Gate.

Best time?   Spring, fall. Winters are quite cold and windy.

Hike Calendar

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