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Quick Escapes: 10 Trails Near Major Cities

The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.

Phoenix | San Diego | San Francisco | Boston | New York | Philadelphia | Chicago | Seattle | Los Angeles | Austin

San Francisco, CA
Stretch your legs on coastal trails in the Marin Headlands.

It’s hard to beat this urban/wilderness interface: San Fran residents who live on the north side of the city can hike from their front doors to a backcountry campsite in the Marin Headlands. Just cross the Golden Gate Bridge, descend to the Coastal Trail, and hike north, connecting the SCA, Alta, and Bobcat Trails to reach Hawk Camp. (It’s about six to seven miles one-way, depending on your address; alternatively, start at the Morning Sun trailhead–served by Golden Gate Transit–and hike in two miles.) En route, you’ll get postcard views of the bay from the headlands’ open meadows. At Hawk Camp, you’re literally surrounded by trails. Best route: Trek out to Rodeo Beach by linking the Miwok, Wolf Ridge, and Coastal Trails. Secluded Hawk Camp has ocean views on clear days, and is often available on short notice fall through spring (pack water; reservations required). Live on the south side of the city? See page 70 for a summit hike near you. nps.gov/goga

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