San Rafael, California

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

Top Hiking Spots in and near San Rafael

  • Redwood City, California

    Hike Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve

    4.0
    4.2 mi / 600 ft gain
    Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve rests in San Mateo County, California. The sweeping hillsides exemplify the true native flora of California, as the foundation of rock and soil is poor in nutrients. Only a few specialized native plants are adapted to live here--don't miss the unique wildflower ...
    Read more
  • Redwood City, California

    Hike Whittemore Gulch at Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP

    4.0
    9.3 mi / 2109 ft gain
    This trail starts out going downhill towards the ocean for the first half, which makes for a tough end to the hike as you trek back up the ridge.  However, there are nice ocean and hilltop views that are worth the climb. On this trail, you'll pass 60+ banana slugs if conditions are right. They ar...
    Read more
  • Redwood City, California

    Hike Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP

    4.6
    7 mi
    There are two places to park for this specific loop- the main parking area on Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) and a smaller parking lot on the western end of the park. I would recommend parking at whichever is closest. Find directions to both on Openspace.org. From the main parking lot, the trail ...
    Read more
  • Half Moon Bay, California

    Purisima Creek Trail and Craig Britton Trail Loop

    4.0
    6.95 mi / 1411 ft gain
    This hike is perfect for any time of year, always staying cool because it is near the coast, and there are multiple creeks that flow year-round. Even on foggy days, the fog condenses on trees to make it seem like it is "raining." Be warned that this hike has a lot of elevation change and is stre...
    Read more
  • Bodega Bay, California

    Camp at Bodega Dunes Campground

    These kind of getaways shouldn't be planned many weeks before the trip. So we didn't booked a campground. And from this experience we learn that you don't have to reserve a campground. Just go there - don't panic when you see campground is full sign in the entrance. There are always available spo...
    Read more
  • Saint Helena, California

    Lake Hennessey Loop

    5.0
    6.53 mi / 764 ft gain
    The "lollipop" hike starts at the "Ranch House" parking lot off of Chiles Pope Valley Road - alternatively, you can access from Conn Valley Road for a shortened 5.6-mile loop. You turn off Chiles Pope Valley Road onto Moore Creek Trail, drive past a private house (you can see it on the map) and t...
    Read more
  • Half Moon Bay, California

    Hike the Cowell-Purisma Trail

    5.0
    7 mi / 400 ft gain
    This is a popular trail that has beach access to Cowell Ranch Beach.  Along the trail, there is a steep staircase that goes down to the beach.  The trail also features fields, a bridge, and beautiful views of California's rugged coastline.  This trail is paved in some parts, and can also be biked...
    Read more
  • Occidental, California

    LandPaths Grove of Old Trees

    5.0
    0.7 mi / 92 ft gain
    The Grove of Old trees is a privately-owned preserve in Western Sonoma County that is open to the public year round. It is not large, only about 33 acres, but it makes a wonderful spot to go on a walk and to soak in the beauty of the redwoods. To get there from downtown Occidental, drive West up...
    Read more
  • Redwood City, California

    Hike the Crystal Springs Trail Loop

    5.6 mi / 1300 ft gain
    This is a great hike for any season of the year, with rushing streams during the winter, wildflowers in the spring, and cool, shaded canyons during the summer. Starting from near the Zwierlein Picnic area, take the Crystal Springs to the left into the redwood forest. Stay straight at the next tra...
    Read more
  • Occidental, California

    Watershed View Trail

    4.0
    1.54 mi / 174 ft gain
    The Watershed View Trail is located off of Coleman Valley Road and shares a trailhead with the Hunters Camp and Creekside Loop. This trail is a 1.5-mile out-and-back, which makes for a great trail to get the family out on to get some energy out. Be prepared for a muddy trail if there has been rec...
    Read more
  • Occidental, California

    Hunters Camp and Creekside Loop

    5.36 mi / 853 ft gain
    Hunters Camp and Creekside Loop is an almost 6-mile loop off of Coleman Valley Road in Occidental, California. This trail can get pretty muddy during the rainy season, but as an added bonus, it makes the waterfall along the Creekside Trail that much better.  Dogs are not permitted on this trail. 
    Read more
  • Pleasanton, California

    Courdet Trail and Schuhart Trail

    5.24 mi / 1122 ft gain
    This is a 5+ mile out and back trail through the hills in the South Bay. The beginning of the hike has a steeper incline and then becomes more gradual later on. There is a beautiful views of the South Bay that are enjoyable in the day, but are fantastic in the evening. Some areas of the trail hav...
    Read more
  • Calistoga, California

    Camp at Bothe-Napa Valley SP

    4.5
    Looking for a romantic getaway but you’d prefer to spend your nights around a campfire? This adventure is for you. This beautiful Napa Valley campground has it all – 10 miles of hiking trails, 1,900 acres to explore, and…new yurts! Yurts are basically cool circular tents that allow you enjoy the ...
    Read more
  • Larkfield-Wikiup, California

    Creekside Trail to Canyon Trail to Ridge Trail Loop

    4.0
    4.46 mi / 850 ft gain
    Creekside Trail to Canyon Trail to Ridge Trail Loop is a loop trail that takes you through a nice forest located near Santa Rosa, California.
    Read more
  • Redwood City, California

    Hike the Methuselah and El Corte De Madera Creek Loop

    6.2 mi / 1800 ft gain
    This loop hike will provide people with the opportunity to experience the tranquility of the lower canyons of the preserve, which tend to be more isolated than the heavier-trafficked trails that are closer to the main highway. Be warned that this hike is fairly strenuous because of the large amou...
    Read more
  • Redwood City, California

    Hike or Bike the Old Growth Redwood Loop at El Corte de Madera

    4.4
    8.8 mi / 1900 ft gain
    This hike starts at the middle parking lot of the El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve. The middle lot is located roughly a mile south on Skyline Boulevard from the Skeggs Point Vista. From the parking lot, take the Methuselah Trail for 0.3 miles until you reach the Timberview Trail. Take this ...
    Read more