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June 11, 2019

Hike Along San Francisco's New Crosstown Trail

The new Crosstown Trail offers you the chance to bike, hike, and run along a 17-mile route that crosses diagonally through San Francisco. Venture through some of the neighborhoods, parks, and cultural sites that make this city special.

Depending on your mobility, interests, and fitness level, some segments will be better than others. Some pathways are shared between bikers and hikers, while others were designed to be wheelchair accessible. For more information, including maps, visit the Crosstown Trail's official website.

Segment I: Sunrise Point to Glen Park BART Station

The Crosstown Trail begins at Sunrise Point Fishing Pier in the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. Hiking north will take you through a tunnel and past the parks of the Visitacion Valley Greenway, including the Community Gardens and Children’s Playground. Lounge a while at McLaren Park, catch a show at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, and enjoy the views along a portion of the Philosopher’s Way trail. You’ll also pass near one of San Francisco’s largest urban farms. Visitors can get their hands dirty at Alemany Farm, take part in a workshop, or pick their produce for the trip home—all for free!

This first segment is just over 5 miles long and includes an expanse of rocky shoreline, which might be a struggle for some visitors.

Segment II: Glen Park BART Station to Forest Hill Muni Metro Station

This three-mile hike is quick and relatively easy. It takes you along some of the nicest pathways in the area. The Laguna Honda Community Trail system merges with the Crosstown Trail for a few miles, heading past the local hospital and giving hikers and bikers a direct view of Sutro Tower. When you’re ready to rest awhile, head to the Virginia Leishman Farm, where the pigs, goats, and sheep of the petting zoo are all eager to meet new guests.

Segment III: Forest Hill to Judah St. & 16th Ave.

The Sunset District is filled with beautiful secrets, from the mysterious Grand Pacheco Stairway that winds up and around into the hills to the colorful tiles adorning the steps along Moraga St. It’s quite a workout to reach Grand View Park at the top of the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, but up there you’ll find expansive 360-degree views, some of the best in the city.

While this segment is shorter than most, it’s rigorous. Cyclists who don’t want to carry their bikes up and down endless flights of steps can use alternate routes. You’ll have access to the Rocky Outcrop nature area and you’ll have a chance to see the colorful tiles dotting the Hidden Garden Tiled Steps, less of a visitor destination and usually less crowded.

Segment IV: Judah St. & 16th Ave. through Golden Gate Park to Geary and Park Presidio boulevards

Hikers will follow 19th Ave. into the park, over Rustic Bridge, made of stone and brick, past a log cabin and the Stow Lake Boat House. A rose garden and the park's famous Japanese Tea Garden can be found on the path as you leave the park. Cyclists must enter on 20th Ave., a path that swings around to the west. The two routes converge as you leave the park along Park Presidio Blvd.

Segment V: Geary and Park Presidio boulevards to Lands End Lookout Visitor Center

The last segment is also considered the most iconic, with views from Lands End that are unmatched anywhere in the city.

Your journey begins before you enter the Presidio, a 1,500-acre collection of natural and cultural treasures. While the trail doesn’t go far into the park, you can venture further and explore its wonders. Wander through North America’s largest outdoor art gallery or join a guided art tour. Stop on a Sunday during the summer and you can join in on the world’s largest outdoor picnic, or swing by the Walt Disney Family Museum.

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Cyclists won’t take the same route into the Presidio and will instead wind northwest on El Camino del Mar straight to Lands End, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Watch for hazards near the cliffs and stick to marked pathways.

On this leg of the journey, you’ll pass the Legion of Honor museum, as well as the USS San Francisco Memorial. The highlight, of course, is the Lands End Lookout Visitor Center and its captivating views of the Pacific Ocean. The area is steeped in history, from the Sutro Bath ruins to the Cliff House, a mainstay in San Francisco culinary culture.

From hidden gems and secret sites to the hustle and bustle of some of San Francisco’s most popular attractions, the new Crosstown Trail will introduce you to the city all over again.

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