Simply put, hiking in San Francisco is heavenly. Don’t get too caught up perusing all the possibilities—an easy in-town trek at Land’s End Trail or a daylong excursion in the Marin headlands—instead, just pick a spot and go. Wherever it is, you’ll be rewarded with plenty of San Francisco treats: awe-inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge, serene redwoods, and probably some sore quads the next day.
Take your pick of trails at Mount Tamalpais State Point, various state parks along the Sonoma County coast, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and plenty of options in the East Bay, including Mt. Diablo. One must-do, especially when you want to impress out of town guests, is a leisurely trek through Muir Woods National Monument, whose 540 acres include 240 of old-growth redwoods, some as high as 258 feet and as old as 1,200 years. (Try to visit mid-week to avoid crowded weekends.)