California Coastal Trail - Trail Running

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About

Summary

One of San Francisco’s finest, the California Coastal trail is a medley of all the greats - views, terrain and location. Nestled up against the Pacific, in the outskirts of the Presidio, is an escape from the city, without actually leaving it.

Written by

Emily Staples

Distance

2.7 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

3.6 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

0 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

September/October when it’s the most sunny.

Dog Friendly

Yes

Yes, but watch for signs. A few trails do not allow dogs.

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

One of San Francisco’s finest, the California Coastal trail is a medley of all the greats - views, terrain and location. Nestled up against the Pacific, in the outskirts of the Presidio, is an escape from the city, without actually leaving it. The trail is 2.7 miles of pure fun with panoramic, priceless sights of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Marshall Beach. The trailhead is less than 5 miles away from the opposite side of the city. Greet the day with local wildlife and native plants, and at dusk watch the sun escape the horizon. This is nature in all her glory.

What Makes It Great

The coastal trail is just what it says it is. The salty breeze, bellowing foghorn, and occasional whale sightings are just a few of the highlights. When the sun is out, the ocean glimmers and you can see the rolling hills resting across the bay. When the fog creeps in, as it often does, much of the beauty is hidden, but you can still hear traces of the enchanting coast when the waves break along the shore, or hidden seagulls call.

It’s an endurance run up and down sandy staircases, and around the Presidio’s historic bunkers. In full sun, it’s an easy to follow trail with a completely rewarding finish at the base of the Golden Gate.  Peer down at Baker Beach and get a glimpse of nude beachgoers. Navigate along coastal brush and native flowers. Everyday the landscape changes and nothing ever seems to get old on California Coastal Trail.  Hikers and runners alike enjoy the path, but it’s that much better if you choose to run its fast course, you’re sure to break a sweat and make your heart race.

Who is Going to Love It

The Presidio’s quaint charm attracts a variety of folks who all have one thing in common, a deep desire to be in nature. History buffs, Hitchcock fans, and city dwelling athletes all seek the calmness of this former military base. Kids and dogs also love the place, think beaches, playgrounds and squirrels. Anyone can easily seek peace and restoration far away from the stress of city life.

The California Coastal Trail is moderately challenging with a few steep climbs, but anyone can conquer it. Bring your daypack and carve out a few hours to discover all the Presidio has to offer.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From the city, take the last exit before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio sits due west of the Gate, neighboring the city’s wealthiest neighborhood, Seacliff to one side, and the posh Laurel Heights to the other. The land is under jurisdiction of the U.S. Park Police, so the fines are heftier, and the rules are a little tighter. The California Coastal Trail begins at the 25th Ave. gate, and ends at Fort Point, the base of the bridge.

It is easily accessible by public transit and there is plenty of free parking options (although it varies from 3-hour to all-day parking). 

Location

California Coastal Trail

37.790676, -122.483203

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