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Ultimate Summer Escapes: The Best Dayhikes and Backpacking Trips Near You

Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.

©Brown W. Cannon III

San Francisco solitude: Countless unnamed trails, like this one off Fairfax-Bolinas Road, make the Bay Area’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area a haven for hikers.

San Francisco

In the city

Ocean Beach to Fort Funston Let the windsurfers have the bay. Hikers will see the best of the city’s oceanfront property on this 10-mile tour.

In June, when most of the Bay Area has dried to a golden brown, Fort Funston, with its foggy climate, is awash in wildflowers. Hike there from Ocean Beach (10 miles round-trip) for a true taste of San Francisco’s coastal culture: You’ll see neoprene-clad surfers braving the 55°F waters at Ocean Beach, then explore the last vestiges of the sand-dune eco-system that once covered much of Golden Gate Park. Today, hang gliders soar over the dunes for a quick airtime fix, sharing the sky with Western gulls, common and Arctic terns, and American kestrels. Tides shift the dune trails each winter, making route–finding an adventure.

Get There Park in the Ocean Beach lot, where Balboa Street meets the Great Highway.

Get Info Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700; www.nps.gov/goga/fofu

©Brown W. Cannon III

Local Abigail Johnson rock-hops above the Pacific.

Daytrip

Mt. Tamalpais Hike the East Peak Loop in the afternoon, be home for happy hour, and stop wondering why San Fran real estate prices only go up.

Fifty miles of trail web this classic Bay Area peak; a trail map is your ticket to solitude. The best routes offer expansive views of the ocean, city, and coastal ranges, and showcase the peak’s diversity: forests of redwood, Douglas fir, oak, and bay; grassy meadows; and manzanita and coyote brush. Plot your own route or try this 7-mile, 7-trail loop combo. From the East Peak parking area, link these trails counterclockwise to circle the Middle and West Peaks (you’ll need that map, but it’s a cinch to follow): Eldridge Grade, Rock Spring Trail, Benstein, Upper North Side, International, Lakeview, Middle Peak Fire Road.

Get There The East Peak parking area is at the end of East Ridgecrest Road, about 30 minutes north of San Francisco by car.

Get Info Mt. Tamalpais State Park, (415) 388-2070; www.parks.ca.gov

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