Philosopher's Way is a 4.3 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near San Francisco, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and running and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.3 km Elevation Gain: 100 m Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

walking

running

forest

views

wild flowers

Looping around the perimeter of John McLaren Park in southeastern San Francisco, the Philosopher’s Way is a unique trail meant to inspire contemplation. The route is laid out onto existing park trails, but with the addition of fourteen “musing stations”. These stone markers are meant to “highlight the interrelationships between the area’s ecology, geography, and history.”

hiking
11 days ago

Great! Loved this trail because in places it was shady and breezy. This park has a lake . Also stones with arrows carved into it Mark the Philosophers trail.

mountain biking
15 days ago

Me and Li’b at lunch, during covid bike Frenzy.

22 days ago

A beautiful walk for all types of lifestyles filled with forests, grasslands, and lake trails. Can be done easily in 1.5 hours at a very leisurely pace.

horseback riding
23 days ago

Very beautiful walk with lots of different plants and flowers in the spring. There are good views of the city and the bay as well. I love that SF has these beautiful hikes hidden within its city.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful if not a bit limited in terms of a long hike. But for a short walk it is absolutely well above expectations!

hiking
1 month ago

Great park in SF with dirt trails through meadows and trees. Beautiful wildflowers and lightly trafficked on a weekday

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Nice clearly marked trail. Will be back. Had to cut it short but is a really nice trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Good dog friendly trail - great views of city and bay from a number of perspectives. Well maintained and signed. Parked in the Mansell lot near tennis courts.

hiking
5 months ago

Just starting using this app. In Tilden it worked fine. In this park it didn’t work so well. GPS doesn’t take you to a good starting place but a random stretch of road with no parking. And when attempting to hike the gps veers all over in very confusing ways. Gave up and will need to come back with a decent hiking book or map.

hiking
7 months ago

The trail I do the most in SF. Relatively easy (some areas of the trail are narrow and a bit rocky) with a few good hills. Great way to get views and a sense of temporary seclusion in the city. McLaren park is the second largest park in SF and mostly ignored. It’s a gem.

hiking
8 months ago

Huge fail. The gps coordinates led me to a different starting point than indicated on the All Trails app. The map on the app veers off of the trail in confusing ways that I, as a novice hiker and map-idiot couldn’t make sense of. The gorgeous forest-like patch of trail (off-map however) that I found was ruined by a techno version of Madonna’s hit “Music,”, circa 2009, blared from speakers across the street loudly enough that it can be heard on the video I took to show my friend the tragic juxtaposition between gorgeous Bay Area nature and music you would need to be on meth to enjoy, like the disgruntled middle-aged white woman that I am. Also my dog was really annoying cause she kept stopping to smell shit and I just wanted to BE IN NATURE DAMNIT. I decided to call it a day after about 1 mile and am instead heading home to drink White Claw and watch those drone videos of nature set to spa music on YouTube. Oh and to google how to read maps and hike. I hate everything.

hiking
8 months ago

Great views! Very few people out even for a Saturday.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful views of the city and the bay, parts unshaded for long stretches.

hiking
Sat Jun 01 2019

very flat and good for beginners, however easy to take the wrong trail

hiking
Sun Apr 28 2019

Always a joy to walk the dogs in John McLaren Park. This trail is great because it gets into the trees and away from some of the city noise

hiking
Wed Feb 27 2019

I Loved it!! Was beautiful !! Amazing escape from the city, really feels like I’m in the forest

Mon Aug 13 2018

Quick and easy loop in an underrated SF park.

Sun Jul 29 2018

My second fave walk in the city

running
Sun Sep 24 2017

hiking
Sun Jul 30 2017

Nice trails and quite a few of them, huge park and hardly anyone there on a Sunday afternoon. Signage was a little lacking, and not every trail is shown in this app. There were Fox Tails *everywhere*, so check your dogs when you're done.

Mon Sep 26 2016

Great short day hike

hiking
Sat Feb 27 2016

A beautiful day, great views, well maintained trail.

hiking
Wed Nov 11 2015

I love this trail! It is very well marked - just follow the arrows. Beautiful views of the bay and San Francisco. The trail is well maintained and dog friendly. Highly recommend!

hiking
Sun Oct 27 2013

Bi-weekly Philosophy Walks are held here. For more detailed information check out the website https://www.facebook.com/PhilosophersWaySanFrancisco

hiking
Tue May 21 2013

If you have a dog, there is a small lake near the top in which dog owners take their dogs to swim. There are also a few picnic benches next to the water.

walking
Mon Apr 15 2013

Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful views of SF and a stick hanging from the tree for my dog! Lots of flowers and not super packed with people. I will be back regularly

hiking
Mon Jan 07 2013

If I were to rate this hike on the nature alone it would probably be only 2 stars at best. But given the cultural aspects the trail has to offer (the 14 musing stations are fun, informative, and nice places to reflect), as well as the unique views of San Francisco at nearly every step, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Not a trail I'll do again anytime soon, but consider it a must if you live in San Francisco, if only to widen your perspective of the city.

walking
3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

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