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Walks with hills and stairs to get you in shape and ready for Peak2Peak

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Peak2Peak is Walk SF’s epic, annual 12-mile hike of 10 San Francisco peaks (tickets go on sale soon!).

Peak2Peak is always amazing, with a brand-new route each year. In 2022, we’ll bring back the in-person supported walk on October 8, and continue to offer a self-guided option.

When I recently told a friend she should do Peak2Peak this year, her response was, “Whoa – I’m not ready for that!”

While you can split this year’s Peak2Peak route into two separate six-mile hikes (instead of doing all 12 miles in one day), my friend got me thinking. What are some great walks to get in shape for Peak2Peak?

I reached out to a couple members of WalkLab, the brain trust of volunteers who develop Walk SF’s walks, to crowdsource some ideas for hill-filled walks to train for Peak2Peak. Here’s what they shared.

Ideas for San Francisco hikes with hills or stairs to get you in shape

  • Explore Sections 2 and 3 of the Crosstown Trail, which climb up and over the “spine” in the middle of the city. Section 2 (3 miles) goes from Glen Park to Forest Hill, and includes trails through Glen Canyon and the Laguna Honda open space. Section 3 (2 miles) goes from Forest Hill to the Inner Sunset, visiting several stairways. Check out the Crosstown Trail map.
  • Warm up on a Slow Street and then hit the hills. From Page Street, you can reach Buena Vista Park, Corona Heights, and little-known Mt. Olympus, at the end of Upper Terrace. From Sanchez Street, you can head for Billy Goat Hill, at 30th & Laidley, or Kite Hill, at 19th & Yukon. From Shotwell Street, you’re not too far from Bernal Hill.
  • Discover Bayview Park Hill, off 3rd Street. A one-mile trail to the summit and back starts at a trailhead at the end of Key Ave. While you’re in the area, visit the new Bayview Letters at 3rd Street & Meade.
  • Pick a staircase (or two or three) to tackle. Some of my favorites are featured in this article on 12 epic stairway climbs. Or pick a staircase near where you live and just do it again and again! You can get inspired by reading about Alexandra Kenin, who’s set a goal of hiking all of the 800+ staircases in the city. Alexandra’s building a map of all the stairways.
  • Walk the 3-mile Philosopher’s Way through McLaren Park. Granite signposts take you to 14 “musing stations” that prompt reflection on the area’s natural and social history. Here’s all the details.
  • Do the Coastal Trail from the Warming Hut at Crissy Field to Baker Beach. This ~2 mile hike has lots of stairs. Here’s a good map with the scoop on this trail.
  • Go to Golden Gate Heights for a lot of stairs in a little amount of time. This 3.1-mile loop includes 12 stairways and 990 feet of elevation change.

Happy trails, and don’t forget to tag your photos with @walksf and #IWalkSF!

Many thanks to Karen Rhodes and Nancy Botkin for their contributions to this blog. Banner image by Sam Kwan.