These Are The Best Northern California Hikes (Near San Francisco Bay Area)

Northern California is full of gorgeous hiking trails and gorgeous views. There are many places to explore, many of which are within an hour’s drive of the San Francisco bay area. This list includes some of our favorite hikes near the bay area, though there are plenty more options!

Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

Muir Woods National Monument is a beautiful Marin County forest just north of San Francisco. It’s one of the best places to hike in Northern California and has some of the tallest trees in the world. If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip from San Francisco, this is it!

There are two main trails here: Redwood Creek Trail and Bootjack Trail. Redwood Creek Trail is more accessible but only goes through one grove of redwoods; Bootjack Trail is steeper but will take you through multiple groves and eventually back to your car at Muir Woods Road. Plenty of other side trails branch off from these two primary paths if you want something more adventurous!

Mount Diablo State Park

Mount Diablo – Summit Hike – NorCal Hiker

Mount Diablo State Park is a beautiful place to go hiking in California. It has over 100 miles of trails to find the trail right for you. The park is open 24 hours a day, so if you want to hike at night (and who doesn’t?), you can! There’s also a visitor center inside the park where you can get information about what trails are open and which ones have water or bathrooms nearby.

The park has picnic areas where families can sit together and enjoy snacks while taking in views of Mount Diablo. There are also campgrounds within the park where visitors can stay overnight to maximize their time enjoying nature! The reservoir provides picnic tables near its shores; these areas are great places for picnics with friends or family members who live near San Francisco Bay Area cities like Oakland or San Jose.

Mount Diablo State Park also has other amenities, such as golf courses and an 18-hole disc golf course! These activities make it easy for visitors from around Northern California to come out on weekends without spending too much on transportation costs because everything is located within one convenient location.”

Henry Coe State Park

Henry W. Coe State Park - Spring Walk in December - Backpacking Light

Henry Coe State Park is a great place to hike if you want to be in the hills, not California’s flatlands. It has many trails to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous. The park is especially popular with mountain bikers and horseback riders, but there are also plenty of hiking trails for people who don’t want their views obstructed by trees or bushes (and maybe even some cactus).

If you’re looking for more than just a day hike and want somewhere private to set up camp, Henry Coe State Park has you covered too! With many campgrounds available on both sides of the park’s entrance gate—though some may require reservations—you’ll find plenty of options within driving distance so long as your car can handle dirt roads.

San Francisco Bay Trail

San Francisco Bay Trail | Metropolitan Transportation Commission

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a California State Park that runs for 45 miles along the bay. The trail can be accessed from several locations throughout the Bay Area, but all of them are easily accessible by public transportation. The best way to find a starting point for your walk is to use Google Maps and then take note of the nearest BART or Caltrain station. Once you’ve found one, hop on and go!

Once you’ve arrived at your destination and found your way off-platform (if not already), head toward where you think the path will begin. You’ll likely see signs telling you which direction is correct—in my case, “east” was indicated by an arrow pointing away from my train route—so follow them until they lead you onto another trail that leads further into nature itself!

East Bay Regional Parks District – East Bay Hikes

Trails Challenge | East Bay Parks

The East Bay Regional Parks District – East Bay Hikes is a good resource for finding hikes in the area. They have a trail map of all the parks and trails in the area, so you can see what’s nearby and how far away it is.

You can find a great hike near you, in California, or anywhere else!

The best hikes are the ones you enjoy, and there’s no better way to find one than by exploring.

But if you don’t want to spend hours hiking through the woods, here are some tips for narrowing down your search.

  • Choose a hike that will challenge you—but not too much!

It’s fun to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, but it can also take away from the enjoyment of being outdoors and enjoying nature. Make sure that the trail is manageable for someone who isn’t used to long hikes or strenuous exercise (that includes me). You’ll be able to explore new areas in Northern California while also challenging yourself physically without overexerting or getting lost along the way!


There are many options if you’re looking for a great hike in California. We’ve covered some of our favorites and hopefully given you some new ideas for your next journey. Happy hiking!

Written by dan

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