Photo: Maridav/Shutterstock

Escape to Adventure: San Francisco

San Francisco Outdoor Insider Guides Teva: Escape To Adventure
by Abbie Mood Sep 5, 2011
Surrounded by the Pacific to the west, the Santa Cruz mountains to its south and redwood forests to its north, San Francisco has wilderness escapes in all directions.

TEVA has teamed up with Matador’s global community of outdoors fanatics to show you how to escape to adventure in 12 cities across America. In addition to the article series, we’ll be running an ongoing photo contest. Send us a photo of yourself adventuring abroad or in your back yard and you might win a free pair of new TEVAs.

Adventure: Surfing

Escape Time: 10-30 minutes
Payoff: Surfing is always its own payoff

Ocean Beach seems to always have at least something surfable. The only real issue is making it out when there’s solid swell. In winter it gets massive and out of control. When it’s this big you can drive 30 minutes south to Pacifica or, if you have solid skills, start looking for spots inside the peninsula, such as Eagles, accessible from China Beach.

Adventure: Kayaking

Escape Time: 10-30 minutes
Payoff: See Alcatraz Island or the Golden Gate bridge up close.

With the San Francisco Bay, it’s really easy to either go out on a kayak trip or take your own out for an hour (or eight). Organized trips leave out of downtown San Francisco near the ferry building at Pier 39 and 40 (City Kayak) or from Schoonmaker Port Marina in Sausalito (Sea Trek), a 30 minute drive from SF.

Adventure: Hiking

Escape Time: 15-30 minutes
Payoff: Peace and quiet or gorgeous views of the city – whatever you are looking for!

Angel Island State Park: About 30 minutes north of downtown San Francisco is the Marin County city of Tiburon, where you can hop on the ferry to Angel Island, a state park in the middle of the Bay. The island is barely 1 square mile, so the main hike is a 5-mile trail called the Angel Island Loop Trail.

Lincoln Park: A great hike in Lincoln Park is the Lands End trail. It follows a cliff along the bay’s rocky coast, so there are great views of downtown SF and the Golden Gate Bridge from Eagles Point. During their migrations seasons, you can also catch a glimpse of whales making their way through the Pacific. The whole coastal trail is 11 miles, but there is a 3.5-mile section that starts above the Cliff House Restaurant on Point Lobos Avenue.

Muir Woods National Monument:The national old growth redwood forest is about 30 minutes north of the city. There are a few hiking options, ranging from 30- to 90-minute trails. Check out the trail map to plan your trip.

Adventure: Mountain Biking

Escape Time: 10-20 minutes
Payoff: Sweet mountain biking around the edge of San Francisco.

Some of the trails start in the city and then head into parks, unless you head straight to the park. Popular trails are the Presidio Loop, Golden Gate Park Loop, Twin Peaks Loop and the Ft. Funston Loop. They range in distance from 6 to 12 miles, so make for quick rides maybe squeezed in after work. The San Francisco Mountain Biking website is basic bus still provides great information and maps of trails. If you want to hit some fire roads or singletrack biking that’s a bit further out of town, head across the Golden Gate to the Marin Headlands in Marin County.

Adventure: Bouldering / Rock Climbing

Escape Time: 20-30 minutes
Payoff: Climb rocks that people have been cranking on since the 1920s.

Just across the Bay in Berkeley are the closest bouldering spots in the area, and many of the classic problems are in the lower to moderate range (SuperTopo reports a range of routes, including twenty V0s, thirteen V3s, a handful of V4-7s, and fourteen V8+s, so climbers of many levels can find suitable problems. Check out a list of areas and a map on a Stanford students’ website, although it doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2003. * Feature photo: Dawn Endico

Discover Matador