Outbound Collective logo

Lake Merced Loop

San Francisco, California

based on 3 reviews



4.53 miles

Elevation Gain

180 ft

Route Type



Added by The Outbound Collective

Lake Merced Loop is a loop trail in the southwestern part of San Francisco. This trail is used for running and walking. You'll see plenty of people getting exercise or taking their dog for a stroll. There are also benches and tables around the loop.

The lake itself is fresh water and is used for racing by competitive rowing programs and for fishing recreationally. 

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app
Download GPX File


Dog Friendly
Family Friendly

Lake Merced Loop Reviews

Good exercise loop. Its relatively flat and there is a water fountain and porto potties in the middle section.

There’s a multi use path/sidewalk that runs the entire perimeter of lake Merced. One can easily spend a day here. Go for a run, walk, or bike ride around the lake. There are multiple parking lots and lots of street parking. Afterwards you can grab a bite to eat at the Harding Park Golf Course. Then you can go for a paddle in the North Lake (just don’t fall in). You’ll need to bring your own boat but it’s free to launch here. Over the last couple years the RV/homeless crowd has grown. They currently fill Lake Merced Blvd from Winston. Everyone seems to keep to themselves so it isn’t really an issue but I still prefer to avoid that section.

This loop is a great workout in San Francisco. The trail offers up scenic views of the lake to keep you moving through the 4+ miles. There's also a scenic viewpoint that cuts through the loop right below the parking area.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Fort Funston Trail

Mount Davidson

16th Avenue Tiled Steps

San Bruno Mountain

Grand View Park ("Turtle Hill")

Bouldering at Glen Canyon Park