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Lake Merced Trail is a 4.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near San Francisco, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 4.5 mi Elevation gain 127 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Kid friendly

Hiking

Road biking

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Lake

Partially paved

Views

Wildlife

Description
Waypoints (0)

A paved loop, this trail is popular for joggers, and road bikers. A beautiful loop for a nice day, its a popular spot to walk your dog.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (343)
Photos (147)
Recordings (343)
Completed (432)
Annabel Wang
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Running

Paved rather than dirt running trail. You're not really running around the lake, more like running along the road going around the lake. Relatively busy - meaning there really wasn't any opportunity to take off the mask since there were so many people.

Anh Tran
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Hiking

What else should we ask for? Living in great city with magnificent landscapes every where. I hike from Lake Merced to Fort Funston . Both places have its unique views. It depends on how you see it and capture it in your eyes. I enjoyed hiking these places even just by myself

View Anh's Recording
Quinton Stasney
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Hiking

Can feel quite crowded on a bicycle and running at times, but very convenient loop. If you look lakeside, you can ALMOST forget there’s a road next to you the entire time. If you’re seeking speed or a challenge, look elsewhere.

Tiffany Bautista
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Hiking

It’s a fine way to get some exercise. But, along a road the entire time. I like the length though.

View Tiffany's Recording
Mark Edmunds
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Hiking

Pretty lake in heart of city. All paved but most offers single track on side of trail. Fair amount adjacent to high velocity street.

View Mark's Recording
Cali Salinas
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HikingBugs
View Cali's Recording
Michele Tom
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Hiking

Easy walk. One I’ve done many times.

View Michele's Recording
Britty Fintel
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Hiking

Boring with more views of cars than the lake

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Rachel Smith
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Hiking

Too bad this paved path runs parallel to a looped busy boulevard because the constant stream of vehicles creates lots of noise and exhaust. Loud and stinky. There are various places where a walker can cut in closer to Lake Merced and those places are beautiful although not marked and some of these paths are not maintained at all and dead end into overgrown impassable brush. But when you can cut in the walk is very nice and quiet and pretty with snatches of views of the lake and plenty of song bird activity year ‘round. I suppose if you’re an urban jogger with music plugged in with ear gear that cancels out background noise at least heavy vehicle traffic sound wouldn’t be an issue. Still exhaust.

Maxwell Graham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 25, 2019
Hiking

I am having trouble understanding why All Trail hikers would rate this “Sidewalk” trail at 4 Stars. Heavily trafficked with real traffic as it mostly follows the highway. If you love golf courses, then you will like this hike more because you do go by two of them. Next time I’m in this same area, I’m going to the Zoo instead because it is still the same kind of hike, but no cars.

View Maxwell's Recording
Kate Shea
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Running

This is a beautiful paved and partial running trail path which is in a decently safe area (daytime) surrounding a lake. It’s great for walkers, joggers, runners, bikes and family and friends. You can also picnic, kayak or row if you choose. Approximately 4.5 miles. :)

Andrew Parra
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Hiking

Nice walking area to conversate.

View Andrew's Recording
Chelsea Ducote
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Hiking

The street next to walk is busy and loud. Ok walk to stretch your legs.

Dee Libine-Collins
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Hiking

95% of this is along the main road. Lots of cars, noisy, no views. Meh.

Soren N
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Very easy path, all paved, but you’re by the road the whole time. Definitely not a nature walk.

View Soren's Recording
Lindsey Pollaczek
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Running

Lots of traffic, not particularly scenic

View Lindsey's Recording
Mario Esquivel
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Decent hike.

Charlene Zhou
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Running

It is for the paved road running, not trail running. The loop is a perfect distance to train for a half Marathon. It is relatively flat, so I can maintain a very steady pace. The trail has enough barrier/room from the roads next to it, so the passing traffic doesn’t bother me, and there isn’t much car exhaust smell at all. I love it for a running trail (I probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much as a walking trail).

James Chu
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life like half mile away, helped me lose 20lbs.

Sokangna Sun
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Nice walk around the lake. Crowded every now and then, but not too bad.

Bill Crain
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Hiking

Good but can get plenty crowded on the weekend which is,when I did it.

Audrey E. McDaniel
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Walking
Alejandra Mejia
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Walking

my family and I love this place. the lake is beautiful and the park area is really nice also.

Jillian Kelling
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Walking

Lots of runners, walkers, and strollers. Don't forget to cross the bridge!

Jennifer Louie
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Avery Pickford
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As others have said, more akin to walking down the street on the sidewalk than walking around a lake on a path. would be a good biking path for little kids, though.

Jim MacCloskey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2016
Walking

Lots of traffic especially east side. Cut through Harding golf course for a breath of fresh air

Tina Raikar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 9, 2016
Walking

It's a nice paved road circuit, but too many cars do go by here since it's right next to the main Streets and highway. the noise here is so loud that it gets you to the point where you wish you could find a place that was quiet. bring earphones to drown out the noise. Definitely safe to do it considering you don't need to cross the street in oncoming traffic.

Akash Moodbidri
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Road biking

Fun!!!

Rich Lowenberg
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Road biking

Traffic is beside you on the whole loop. The lake is beautiful but it's not as peaceful as other trails.

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