Beer Run: The Best Trail-to-Bar Pairings in the Bay Area

A cold one tastes even better after an adventure.

By: Josiah Roe

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San Francisco, Marin County, and the surrounding Bay Area is a trail runners paradise that features hundreds (if not thousands) of miles of trails through and along coastal canyons and up and down thousand-foot peaks. And as any trail runner will tell you, there’s nothing like the restorative joy of a victory beer (or two) after a good, long run. Here are ten of most popular:

1. Mt. Tam Hill Climb (Temelpa Trail) and Mill Valley Beer Works.

The Mt. Tam Hill Climb via Temelpa Trail has become one of the world’s iconic trail run, with the Tuesday Morning Sunrise run hosted by the San Francisco Running Company drawing some of the finest trail runners in the world. 

It begins in downtown Mill Vally and follows Summit Ave to Fern Canyon Road, where Temelpa Trail begins and heads nearly straight up till it intersects with Vern Dunshee, where you’ll go right. From there you can scramble up a use trail which begins just before the picnic bench on your left, or you can continue around till you intersect with the main trail to the summit. Don’t forget to slap the door of the Lookout. 

Head back down the way you came and grab a beer at Mill Valley Beerworks, a hangout for runners and cyclists alike.

2. Dipsea Trail & the Tourist Club

The Dipsea Trail is home to the world’s oldest cross-country trail race, and needs little introduction with its world-famous section-names like Suicide, The Rainforest, Cardiac Hill and The Moors. 

Just up Panoramic Highway and overlooking Muir Woods is the Nature Friends Tourist Club of San Francisco, a beautiful private lodge and pub that is occasionally opened to guests, so be sure to check the calendar and schedule your run accordingly.

3. Angel Island & drinks on the deck at Sam's Anchor Cafe

Angel Island has over 40 miles of trails with all manner of loops for the novice or advanced runner. Take the ferry from San Francisco or Tiburon, knock out a good run, and then take the ferry over to Tiburon and and grab a beer on the iconic deck of Sam’s.

4. Tennessee Valley through Pirates Cove to Muir Beach & Pelican Inn, and back via Middle Green Gulch and Fox Trail

The run to Tennessee Valley Beach and along the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean to Muir Beach is perhaps the final coastal trail running to be found in the Lower 48, and no visit to Muir Beach is complete without the charmingly anachronistic Pelican Inn

Stop and grab a beer to refuel, then head up Middle Green Gulch Trail to Fox Trail and back down to the Tennessee Valley trailhead.

5. Golden Gate Park & The Beach Chalet

There are wonderful trails hidden all throughout the lakes, streams, and forests of Golden Gate Park, and if you learn it’s secrets, you can even piece together spectacular trail runs with a respectable amount of elevation gain. 

At the end of Golden Gate Park is the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant overlooking Ocean Beach. Grab a pint and kick it with your friends on the veranda in the back.

6. Coastal / SCA Trail & the Travis Marina Bar

The Coastal / SCA trail provides perhaps the finest views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, and begins just north of the Golden Gate from Vista Point proceeding up and over the hill that tower over the Golden Gate.

Just below the bridge is Horseshoe Cove, home to the Travis Marina Bar, a hidden gem with dancing and live music. Many runners park here and head up Coastal / SCA from Cavallo Point.

7. Buena Vista + Mt. Olympus + Twin Peaks + Mt. Sutro & Magnolia Gastropub

San Francisco’s 49 hills feature numerous trails, forests, and epic views. This iconic begins at Haight and Ashbury and heads up and over Buena Vista Park, over Mt. Olympus, and up and over both Twin Peaks.

Come back down taking the trails around Sutro Tower and up and over Mt. Sutro down through the Sutro Open Preserve. Finish the run off with a beer from Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery on the corner of Haight and Masonic.

8. Lands End & Tee Off

The Lands End Trail is an excellent trail for beginner runners, being only 3 miles long with only a couple hundred feet of elevation gain, but the views remain spectacular. 

Finish your run at the Tee Off Bar & Grill, which has an excellent beer selection and on Friday’s their infamous “Oyster Orgy”. 

9. Steep Ravine + Matt Davis & Sand Dollar

The Matt Davis + Steep Ravine loop (with a hint of the Dipsea) is a great way to take in the numerous ecological zones of the Northern California coast including sweeping coastal chaparral and dense redwood forests. 

You can either begin and end your run at Pantoll Station with a mid-run break, or being and end your run at Stinson Beach. Either way, plan on stopping at the Sand Dollar in Stinson Beach and grab a beer on their patio.  

10. Baker Beach + The Presidio & Final Final

The Presidio’s 24 miles of trails include Monterrey Cyprus forests and sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge over ocean bluffs, including the beautiful Battery to Bluffs Trail and the brutal “Sand Ladder” from Baker Beach.

Celebrate finishing your run with a beer at Final Final in the Marina, just outside the Presidio Gates.

Bonus: Double Dipsea & the 2am Club

The ambitious runner looking for a true challenge can attempt a Double Dipsea, beginning in Mill Valley and ending at the 2 AM Club aka “The Deuce” on Miller Avenue. Grab some grub next-door at Joe’s Taco Lounge. You can take it inside the Deuce and celebrate being a true trail running badass.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.