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San Francisco, California

Looking for the best backpacking in San Francisco? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around San Francisco. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top Backpacking Spots in and near San Francisco

  • Tiburon, California

    Camp on Angel Island

    5.0
    Thousands of years ago, this island was a fishing and hunting ground for the Miwok Native Americans. It has also been an outpost for the U.S. Army and a cattle ranch. Now, it’s one of the closest places to escape from the hustle of San Francisco and set up camp. Camping on the island requires ba...
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  • Bolinas, California

    Point Reyes' Wildcat Camp via Coast Trail

    5.0
    11.19 mi / 1926 ft gain
    In order to make this trip possible, go to recreation.gov and make a reservation for Wildcat Camp (available year-round). On your way to the trailhead, make sure to stop by the Bear Valley Visitor Center to grab your camping permit. For more information, visit: http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvis...
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  • Bolinas, California

    Glen Camp Loop via the Palomarin Trailhead

    4.7
    15.72 mi / 3091 ft gain
    Day 1 Before heading to the trailhead, make sure to stop by the Bear Valley Visitor Center to pick up your permit. To stay overnight in Point Reyes, you must stay at one of the trail camps.   Camping anywhere else in the park is not allowed.   Permits for the trail camps can be booked up to 6 mo...
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  • Bolinas, California

    Backpack to Coast Camp in Point Reyes via Palomarin Trailhead

    20.5 mi / 2705 ft gain
    Spanning from just north of the small town of Bolinas (about an hour north of San Francisco) across Inverness ridge and to the top of Tomales Point, Point Reyes National Seashore is as stunning park featuring breathtaking ocean views and solitude among the grassy hillsides and forested ridges. Th...
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  • Point Reyes Station, California

    Bear Valley to Coast Camp Loop

    5.0
    16.18 mi / 2818 ft gain
    Permit and Trail Camp Info To stay overnight in Point Reyes, you must stay at one of the Trail Camps.   Camping anywhere else in the park is not allowed.    Permits for the Trail Camps can be booked up to 6 months in advance.  If you are looking to go on a weekend, then you'll want to start loo...
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  • Point Reyes Station, California

    Sky Trail Loop

    5.0
    9.55 mi / 1818 ft gain
    Sky Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore is a dramatic, mostly single-track trail that runs along the main spine of the Inverness Ridge and across highest mountains in Point Reyes, looming above the Olema Valley and Highway 1 which mark the San Andreas Fault rift zone and the dividing line betw...
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  • Point Reyes Station, California

    Sky Campground via Sky Trail

    2.66 mi / 495 ft gain
    Entering Point Reyes National Seashore from Bear Valley Road the Sky Trailhead is a 4.9 mile drive.  Camping in Sky Camp requires a Camping Permit.   Once at the Sky Trailhead parking lot.  The Sky Trailhead will be on the left side pulling in.  The hike is not very strenuous and not all that lo...
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  • Point Reyes Station, California

    Coast Campground via Laguna Trailhead

    4.3
    4.02 mi / 633 ft gain
    This campground is the closest you can get to staying overnight on Pt. Reyes coastline if you're backpacking in. Once you get there, enjoy the view! The easiest way to get to the camp is from the slightly uphill hike along the Laguna Trail and the Firelane Trail. The trailhead for the Laguna Tra...
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  • La Honda, California

    Sam McDonald Park Loop

    5.0
    12.19 mi / 2192 ft gain
    The Pescadero Creek Park Complex is a great place to escape for a day or overnight hike in the heart of the Bay Area. You will need to get a permit to stay overnight - these can be attained on a first-come, first-serve basis from the ranger station. Most of the campsites here are also available f...
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  • Pescadero, California

    Hike the Canyon Rim Route in Butano State Park

    5.0
    11.7 mi
    Located deep within the Santa Cruz Mountains, Butano State Park boasts a large redwood canyon with many miles of hiking trails as well as campsites. This state park is one of the quietest and least visited parks on the peninsula making a perfect place to escape the hustle of the Bay Area Butano S...
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  • Sunol, California

    Little Yosemite via Canyon View Trail

    4.0
    3.01 mi / 705 ft gain
    Please note this is a fragile ecosystem and watershed. There is NO swimming allowed in Alameda Creek and trespassing is prohibited on Water Department lands that are not accessible to the public. You can learn more about the restrictions and the area at ebparks.org.  After entering the kiosk you...
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  • Saratoga, California

    Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail

    4.5
    30.22 mi / 3409 ft gain
    Want to experience one of the bay area's most memorable backpacking trips? We've got the details to get you out on the trail. To start the trek, drop your car at the Castle Rock State Park Parking Lot, which is located ~2.5 miles south of the junctions of Highways 35 and 9 off of Highway 35. Not...
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  • Saratoga, California

    Backpack Castle Rock State Park

    4.7
    Castle Rock Trail Camp has a different policy than other backcountry camps in the area (i.e. campsites along Skyline to the Sea). This campground is open all year and is available on a first come, first served basis. If you can, grab a spot a Frog Flat Camp. To get to the camp, park your car at t...
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  • Boulder Creek, California

    Big Basin's Sunset Trail Camp

    4.8
    9.46 mi / 2146 ft gain
    This trail and campsite is currently closed (learn more). Looking for a more authentic hiking and camping weekend, without having to drive hours away to find it? Then the Sunset Trail Camp within Big Basin Redwoods SP is your ticket. To access this site, you'll need to hike the famous Skyline-to...
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