Simply put, trail running in San Francisco and the Bay Area is pure nirvana for the off-road athlete, with arguably the best trails in the country. Some of the most breathtaking scenery—and demanding terrain—can be found in the Marin Headlands, including Mt. Tamalpais State Park, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Mt. Tam, as it’s affectionately known among locals, has more 100 miles of trails and fire roads that range from sea level to more than 2,500 feet at the summit, with views at every step that inspire countless bragging-rights selfies.
Popular routes around include an approximately 7.3-mile loop from Stinson Beach to the Pantoll Ranger Station and the Matt Davis Trail, a roughly 8-mile, round trip on the mountain’s western slopes with 1,500 feet of climbing. Another must-do: the 7.5-mile Dipsea Trail, which runs from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach and includes 2,200 feet of vertical climbing. The trail also is the route for the Dipsea Race, which has taken place since 1905.
In town, the trails of the Presidio offer an urban escape for working in a few miles. Popular routes include the 3.1-mile Southwest Hills trail, the 2.6-mile Mountain Lake Trail, and the 4.3-mile Golden Gate Promenade, which come with serene scenery through the redwoods and spectacular views of the coast and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Groups: Brazen Racing, Enviro-Sports, Zoom Running
Retailers: San Francisco Running Company, Marin Running Company
Races/Events: The Dipsea Race