Tired of exercising in your living room? We understand! Join us in taking the workout OUTSIDE with weekly curated routes for running, hiking, and biking!
We will share two routes per week, one for hiking/running and one for biking, taking you to different locations all over San Francisco. Additionally, we will share a BONUS route contributed by Y Walkers and supporting members.
Join us in exploring the city and enjoy the great outdoors!
Hike: Crosstown Trail – McLaren Park
Route: Crosstown Trail – McLaren Park
Trailhead/Starting Point: Leland Ave and Peabody St
While we won’t be doing the entire Crosstown Trail, we're going to be taking on portions of it together! Come and cross the city with us!
At this intersection, the Crosstown Trail will take us through the beautiful Visitacion Valley Greenway, a pathway made up of various community gardens! We’ll make our way into McLaren Park and follow the popular Philosopher’s Way markers around the perimeter of the park. If you’ve never been on this path before, get ready for panoramic views of the city to the north, Mt. Diablo to the east, and San Bruno Mountain to the south. Once we’ve done the loop, we’ll follow the Greenway back to the starting point.
One thing to note is the main climb comes within the first mile of the hike – but not to fear, we’ll have the Visitacion Valley Greenway to keep us entertained. Once we’ve reached McLaren, we’ll have some gentle rolling hills until heading downhill on our way out of the park.
Hike: Mount Sutro & Twin Peaks Hike
Hike: Mount Sutro & Twin Peaks Hike
Trailhead/Starting Point: Stanyan & 17th Streets
For this hike, we’re connecting and looping the green gems found in the center of the city: Mount Sutro, Sutro Tower, Twin Peaks, and Tank Hill.
We’ll meet on Stanyan and 17th Street to take the Interior Greenbelt Trail into Mount Suntro. Once in the park, we’ll follow signs for the Historical Trail, eventually taking the Ridge Trail towards Clarendon Ave.
Beware that we’ll have to cross Clarendon Ave to make our way along the western and southern sides of Sutro Tower. Once on the other side, we’ll have a clear view of Twin Peaks – our next destination! Twin Peaks can be done either on the roads (now closed to cars) or can be climbed over through the stairway trail. Once both peaks have been completed, we’ll make our way north along Twin Peaks Blvd, until meeting Clarendon Ave once again. Once there, instead of heading back the way we came, we’ll sneak in one more climb to Tank Hill and finally drop down towards Stanyan Ave.
Although this one takes us through many peaks, the main climb comes within the first ¾ of a mile. This section can be narrow and is shared with mountain bikers.
Bike: Presidio Loop
Route: Presidio Loop Ride (5-mile ride)
Trailhead/Starting Point: Presidio Community YMCA, 63 Funston
Come roll with YBike on a 5-mile ride through the Presidio! The ride will be on paved roads, many of which have bike lanes. This route will be moderately hilly, with plenty of opportunities to catch your breath and take in the scenery.
During our ride, we’ll ride past the Presidio Cemetery, get a view of the bridge, and head towards the coast before heading south just after Fort Scott. We’ll loop around through the Eucalyptus forest via Washington Blvd before riding down Arguello Blvd back to the Y.
What is the intended impact of Routes of the Week?
The intended impact is to explore our backyards – the streets and neighborhoods that are within walking, running, or biking distance that can be seen and felt in a way that is hard to see or feel in a car or bus.
Routes of the Week are also intended to just provide a different place to exercise that may be less crowded.
What kinds of routes will there be?
All kinds! Trails, roads, stairs, hills, flats. The routes don’t always include parks, but we're hoping to connect city parks as much as possible since we know that green spaces can also be good for mental health.
How are they chosen?
Location: We try to provide routes in all neighborhoods in San Francisco, knowing that not everyone has access to Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, or the waterfront of the Embarcadero. Since these Routes of the Week started during the Shelter in Place, providing options that were less obvious or gave people a chance to climb a new hill, or see a new connecting street, while still being able to exercise safely felt important.
Distance: Providing a route that can be done in 45minutes to 90 minutes made it a bit more feasible for parents, families, people to take a manageable outdoor break without it eating up a huge chunk of the day.
Highlights: Some routes are chosen for their views, some for the history, and some for just the pure desire to get a solid workout by climbing a long hill, which are hard to avoid in San Francisco. For routes in Marin and San Mateo, we’re trying to use less popular trailheads and combine them with popular features – just to provide other ways of getting to the same popular places.
What makes you choose the ones you do?
I personally find the less obvious stuff interesting. So I’ll look for a route that is less obvious to someone that has ran or biked that area before a hundred times. We all (myself included) get in the habit of learning something/a route and then doing it again and again because we know what to expect, we can cover it faster, we want to not have to think about getting lost, but sometimes it’s nice to find something slightly different that you can “master.”
How does this align with SiP orders?
Under current SiP orders, outdoor exercise is allowed in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo, provided that we still wear masks, follow social-distancing guidelines, and respect the rules set in place by parks and counties. Since hiking, running, and riding rarely requires you to touch anything other than your own equipment, these Routes of the Week provide opportunities to exercise with individuals while still being safe.
With parking lots at trailheads closed at popular parks, like the Marin Headlands and Mount Tam, having options to hike, run, or bike in places that didn’t require driving also inspired these Routes of the Week.
As the SiP orders evolve and eventually disappear, we hope that the Routes of the Week will just provide more opportunities to continue exploring and seeing other places nearby that might get overshadowed by the more popular trails/routes.
What is different about these routes than other orgs/websites with suggestions?
Other orgs/websites provide really great options for nature education, scenic views, etc. They often provide the best option to see everything that park has to offer. Which is a great place to start exploring new spaces and getting comfortable with wayfinding, especially if this is not a strength for people. Some of our routes also include those popular routes.
However, our routes also provide an opportunity to see streets or thoroughfares that connect neighborhoods/parks that we may not have known existed before. The hope is that when people are out on a daily walk, that it brings a bit more variety to daily options, versus having to wait for the weekend to go visit a place. Plus, the more areas you get familiar with, the more you’re likely you are to make your own routes.
What information will be included?
Routes of the week will include:
Location description with distance and map
Highlights of the area/fun fact
Ideal times to go visit
Multiple starting options to access route
Recommended places to park if you have to drive to the trailheads
Options to make it different: longer, harder, easier, fast, etc.