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

  • Half Moon Bay, California

    Stroll along the Southern Beaches at San Gregorio State Beach

    4.0
    2.9 mi / 413 ft gain
    Not a trail per se, but approximately 3 miles (down and back) of beautiful beach to walk down. Lots of interesting caves, wild animals, and rock formations to discover. This is a popular location for sea kayakers. San Gregorio State Beach was originally founded to protect the estuary at the back ...
    Read more
  • Guerneville, California

    East Ridge - Pool Ridge Loop

    4.5
    3.37 mi / 810 ft gain
    This park most resembles Muir Woods, and if you're looking to get out of the tourist trap, head to Armstrong Redwoods and make a day of it. This 3-mile hike takes off from the sign pointing to East Ridge Trail. As you begin a slight climb up the trail, you'll be under the cover of the redwoods, s...
    Read more
  • Los Altos, California

    Park Day at Foothills Park

    1.7
    Disclaimer: Foothills Park requires proof of residence in Palo Alto or being accompanied by a resident of the city. Learn more here.Foothills Park is 2.7 miles west of 280 after exiting Page Mill. After exiting you take a short scenic drive up the hill and come to the park entrance on your right...
    Read more
  • Guerneville, California

    Parson Jones and Colonial Armstrong Redwood Trees

    5.0
    The Parson Jones Tree is the tallest tree in the reserve, measuring more than 310 feet (94 m) in height. This is longer than the length of a football field!  Named after a lumberman who chose to preserve this portion of the park in the 1870s, the Colonel Armstrong Tree is the oldest tree in the ...
    Read more
  • Fremont, California

    Mission Peak via Hidden Valley Trail

    4.2
    6.16 mi / 2116 ft gain
    Breathtaking views of the Bay Area are your reward for making this climb to the top of Mission Peak. It’s a 3-mile trek to the top of the peak and then back down the same way. This is a moderate hike that provides a nice workout – so be prepared. Park at the Stanford Avenue entrance gate. There ...
    Read more
  • Calistoga, California

    Hike Mount Saint Helena

    4.3
    10 mi / 2100 ft gain
    Drive north from Napa following Rt 29, through Calistoga and up into the forest. After passing the sign for Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, and just over the crest, there is a parking area on the right side of the road, opposite the trailhead on the left. Parking fills up by mid-morning so get...
    Read more
  • Guerneville, California

    Austin Creek State Recreation Area Loop

    5.0
    8.65 mi / 1722 ft gain
    The hike starts at the Gilliam Creek Trailhead, halfway up Armstrong Woods Road on the way to Bullfrog Pond. There is an $8 fee to enter the park, to be paid at the ranger kiosk as you enter Armstrong Woods.  HIKING Begin hiking by descending the Gilliam Creek Trail. The descent is long and ste...
    Read more
  • Santa Clara County, California

    Black Mountain via Rhus Ridge Trail

    9.75 mi / 2992 ft gain
    Just outside of Los Altos is a very long ridge of mountains, one of which is Black Mountain.  This is a very dry hike, with no tree canopy, so it can get very hot! Be aware that this can make the hike feel a lot more difficult with the sun beating down on you. Follow Rhus Ridge Trail to Black Mo...
    Read more
  • San Jose, California

    Catch a Sunset at Alviso Marina County Park

    3.0
    9 mi / 72 ft gain
    This tranquil 20.6 acre park is open year round from 8am to sunset. It’s the gateway to the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is filled with boardwalks, trails, and all kinds of wildlife. I went here with the sole intent of catching a pretty sunset after a long week.  I g...
    Read more
  • Los Altos, California

    Hike the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve Loop

    4.5
    2.9 mi / 600 ft gain
    This hike is best done in the late fall, winter, and spring so that the creek is running and the hills are green. Starting at the preserve parking lot, the first half of the hike is predominantly downhill. At the main trailhead, start in the direction of the Stevens Creek Nature Trail, as told by...
    Read more
  • Los Altos, California

    Hike to Black Mountain and Stevens Creek Canyon

    4.0
    6 mi / 950 ft gain
    This hike can be done during any season, but for the creek to be running and for more comfortable temperatures, it is best to go on a cool winter or spring day. Starting at the preserve parking lot, take the Stevens Creek nature trail, allowing you to witness spectacular views of a large, foreste...
    Read more
  • 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...
    Read more
  • Livermore, California

    Hike the East Shore Trail Loop

    3.7 mi / 1040 ft gain
    This hike is best done during the spring, fall, or winter when moderate temperatures make the hike more comfortable. Be warned that this hike has a large elevation change despite being less than 4 miles. Starting at the Arroyo Road Staging Area, take the East Shore Trail east, heading towards a s...
    Read more
  • Redwood City, California

    Hike Russian Ridge

    4.5
    4 mi
    Russian Ridge offers a great place to jump on the trail and in the right season, see some of the best wildflowers blooming. On top of that, you get access to amazing views from the ridge. Once you hit your parking space, add a little extra warm up before jumping on the trail to make this 3.7-mil...
    Read more
  • La Honda, California

    Brook Trail Loop

    7.63 mi / 1457 ft gain
    The Brook Trail Loop is a beautiful hike, starting off in Sam McDonald County Park and later entering into Pescadero Creek County Park. This adventure can be done in any season, with the trails almost entirely shaded for even the hottest summer days. Starting off from the Heritage Grove trailhea...
    Read more
  • 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...
    Read more