Best lake trails in San Francisco, California

1,471 Reviews
Explore the most popular lake trails near San Francisco with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of lake trails in San Francisco, California
Top trails (10)
#1 - Golden Gate Park Loop
Golden Gate Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(340)
Length: 6.3 mi • Est. 2 h 33 m
Come explore the wonders of Golden Gate Park! As one of the third most visited parks in the United States, Golden Gate Park is a large urban park featuring a variety of popular attractions. This park offers a variety of hiking trails for the whole family! Stop by the Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, or the Botanical Gardens as you make your way around the park. (Note that these attractions have specific hours and require a fee.) Other cool attractions include: the deYoung Museum and Japanese Tea Gardens. Golden Gate Park is also home to a variety of flora and fauna such as the California Live Oak, a tree native to this park. Visitors can find these oaks at the northeastern section of the park. Additionally, Golden Gate Park hosts events year round! So if you're looking for a hike, a picnic area, or a variety of museums and gardens, Golden Gate Park is the place to go!Show more
#2 - Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill Loop
Golden Gate Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(213)
Length: 2.0 mi • Est. 55 m
The Stow Lake Loop offers a pleasant stroll around a beautiful lake. A popular spot for joggers and bird watchers. Explore The island and walk past Hunington Falls.Show more
#3 - San Francisco Crosstown Trail
Glen Canyon Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(220)
Length: 17.0 mi • Est. 7 h 58 m
San Francisco's Crosstown Trail is a mixture of hiking trails, various parks, hidden paths, and more! For those looking to check out San Francisco, this trail is right for you. The crosstown trail literally takes you across San Francisco allowing hikers or bikers to see what SF has to offer! (Note that the bike trails are a bit different from the hiking trail.) The trail begins at Candlestick Point and ends at Lands End. As you follow the trek across San Francisco, check out the different sights this trail has to offer (such as the beautiful Moraga Steps, which is also listed in AllTrails). Hikers will be able to walk past different gardens, coffee shops, bookstores and more! Thirsty? Stop by one of San Francisco's local coffee shops for some good old joe (and maybe a pastry or two)! At the end of the trail, hikers can grab dinner at Lands End. Users have reported that this trail takes most of the day if starting early. That being said you may be able to catch the sunset at Lands End! Looking to hike some more? Check out our Lands End Trail, another fun San Francisco hike! Note: Hikers can also opt out of hiking the whole trail as this trail is also connected by public transportation systems.Show more
#4 - Lake Merced Loop
Lake Merced Park
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Length: 4.5 mi • Est. 1 h 54 m
A paved loop, this trail is popular with cyclists, dog walkers, and especially joggers. A beautiful walk for a nice day.Show more
#5 - Golden Gate Park, Lands End and Presidio Loop
Golden Gate Park
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Length: 11.3 mi • Est. 5 h 5 m
#6 - Golden Gate Park Perimeter Loop
Golden Gate Park
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Length: 7.3 mi • Est. 3 h 13 m
#7 - Pine Lake Loop
Pine Lake Park
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Length: 0.9 mi • Est. 23 m
#8 - Fort Funston to Stern Grove
Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(16)
Length: 5.2 mi • Est. 2 h 16 m
Along the Lake Merced Bike Path, Sloat Boulevard, and into the Pine Lake Park and Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove, enjoy the wonderful views. Accessibility: This asphalt and concrete trail is estimated to be at least four feet wide. The first mile has a gentle grade but then it gets steeper. The steepest sections, over 12% grade, are at the 1.0 and 2.3 mile marks and are marked with waypoints. The curve around Lake Merced at the 1.0 mile mark and the slope down Vale Avenue may be difficult for users with manual mobility equipment. Show more
#9 - Presidio and Bakers Beach Loop Trail
Presidio of San Francisco
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(7)
Length: 5.4 mi • Est. 2 h 11 m
Park near the Presidio Arguello Gate, and hike alongside the Presidio Golf Course to the Mountain Lake. From there, loop around the lake, walk under the Veterans Blvd and follow the Park Boulevard Trail. Once you've passed The Presidio Landmark, head down the sandy Lobos Creek Valley Path and cross the El Camino del Mar road. You will now be heading toward the Coastal Trail, which leads you - while walking on a sandy path - along Baker Beach. The Coastal Trail then winds up and down, following northward the coast. Be prepared to climb multiple-step stairways up and down along the way until you reach the Golden Gate Overlook near the Golden Gate Bridge. You will be passing several Battery stations built around 1900 and mostly active until the early 1940s. To return to the Arguello Gate, you follow the path to Kobbe Ave and then take the Park Trail up the hill to the Cemetery Overlook, and from there along the Golf Course to the gate. Show more
#10 - Spreckels Lake Loop
Golden Gate Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(9)
Length: 0.4 mi • Est. 11 m
Spreckels Lake is on the northern side of Golden Gate Park. The lake is named after former park commissioner Adolph B. Spreckels. The lake is surrounded by Monterey Cypress trees which create a nice scenery and views which are cast on the surface of the lake. The lake is good for walking, hiking, jogging, and bike riding. At times, groups of people can be seen practicing Thai Chi. The lake is home to the San Francisco Model Yacht Club, so it's a great place to enjoy remote-controlled boats. This is a great spot for easy walks/strolls, meditate, read, and/or relax. Great for children and pets on leash.Show more