San Francisco offers a whole slew of hiking spots that let you commune with nature without getting too far from a paved road. If you’re looking for a quick team-building activity, field trip, or energetic bachelor(ette) party, choose any of these trails. Using Bus.com’s booking tool, you can easily rent a San Francisco charter bus to transport your group to the trail. Depending on the size of your group, rent either a mini coach bus or a coach bus. Both can be equipped with air conditioning to help cool down hikers after a brisk walk. Your driver can drop you off and pick you up after your hike, eliminating parking and carpool worries. Use these suggestions to start planning an active group day trip.
Part of Presidio of San Francisco, Lovers’ Lane is a low impact hike. Really, it’s more of a stroll. It might not make you sweat, but it’ll make you swoon. Lovers’ Lane is a pretty little walk from Presidio Gate to the Main Post. Couples have frequented this romantic destination for generations, but it hasn’t always been the pathway to bliss that it is today. It was first built in the 18th century as a shortcut for the Spanish soldiers and missionaries marching from the Main Post to Mission Dolores. You don’t have to be a lover to enjoy the Lane. You can be a big group on your way to a family reunion, a lunchtime running club, or a class of kids exploring the historic places in the Presidio.
There are multiple trails running through Presidio. You could pick one or combine a few to enjoy different perspectives of these historic grounds. If you’re a nature lover or you’re trying to teach kids to appreciate their local flora and fauna, Ecology Trail is a great place for your group. It’s only 1.4 miles but represents habitats that range from grasslands to eucalyptus forests. Hummingbirds and butterflies will accompany you on your walk, and wildflowers dot the edges of the path. It’s heaven! Along the trail, you’ll find Inspiration Point Overlook, a lookout with a view of major landmarks like Alcatraz and the Palace of Fine Arts.
Lands End Lookout
At three miles, Lands End Lookout is a little longer than other trails, but it’s still easy on the feet. The trail winds along the cliffs and down to the ocean. You can jog the stairs if you’re looking to boost your heart rate, or stroll at a leisurely pace to take in some of the historic elements. Along this hike, you’ll come across the West Fort Miley batteries. There you’ll find military history artifacts and a grassy area that’s perfect for a lunch stop. You’ll also find the Lookout itself. It’s wheelchair accessible and provides an incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay. Fun fact: The Spanish once called the lookout Point Lobos because of the many lobos marinos (sea lions) that crowded the area, almost as many as you’ll find on Pier 39.
Batteries to Bluffs Trail
Less than a mile long but more challenging than other hikes, Batteries to Bluffs Trail is 15 minutes of incredible views and secluded spots. The trail follows the Presidio coast and offers breathtaking ocean views and rocky terrain to challenge your group. You’ll start high up on the cliffs and walk down to the Pacific Ocean, where you’ll find Marshall’s Beach. This quiet beach is the local secret sunbathing spot. And, for some reason, it’s a popular skinny dipping destination, despite being pretty cold. The best sunset in SF can be viewed from Marshall’s and dolphins can be seen playing in the waves. Charter a San Francisco school bus or coach bus to drop your group off at the trailhead on Lincoln Boulevard.
Glen Canyon Park
Glen Canyon Park is in San Francisco’s core but you wouldn’t know it from inside the park. Tall trees mask all the classic markers of a city. Take the wood path for easy walking or climb the stairs through a forest of gum trees. Babbling creeks provide a soothing background for a group looking to relax. At 60 acres, the park offers several trails, ranging from easy to difficult. Bring your binoculars to take advantage of this prime bird watching spot. Owls and hawks can be seen streaking through the sky and peering out from the trees.
On the western edge of San Francisco, you’ll find the 200-foot bluffs of Fort Funston. This park boasts San Francisco’s largest remaining sand dune fields. It’s also an attractive destination for active groups looking to add a high impact activity to the day’s schedule. The park is known for hand gliding, and hikers are often followed from the sky by the colorful wings of extreme sports enthusiasts. It also offers a beach, horseback riding trails, and multiple hiking paths. If you are hiking Fort Funston with kids, be wary of the ocean. The undertow in this area is surprisingly strong.
Corona Heights Park
Enjoy an expansive view of San Francisco from Corona Heights Park, and learn a little about California history at the same time. The Park was once a quarry for brick materials and a historic point of tension for 19th-century labor unions and industry management. You’ll find evidence of the quarry all over the trails, as the steep rocks are a result of the quarrying. Trails in the area are quiet and lined with wildflowers that attract butterflies from all over. But despite its tranquility, the trail can be pretty challenging at times. It’s about one mile long, snaking around the park and up to the summit. The park also houses a natural history museum for children, making it a great destination for field trips. Note: Poison oak grows in the area, so keep an eye on the kiddos.
Do you need a bus to get to these trails?
Yes! Any time you’re traveling with a group, you’ll want to rent a San Francisco charter bus. The reason: It’s way simpler to ride with one vehicle than it is with ten to twenty. Parking is next to impossible at many of these trails. They’re built for walking, not cars. When you arrive in a charter bus, you’ll be dropped off and picked up when you’re done. No parking hassles. Depending on the size of your group, different buses will be appropriate. For more bus rental tips, read our Ultimate Guide to Bus Rentals.