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San Rafael, California

San Rafael, California is a true of natural beauty and endless opportunities for exploration. From rustic trails to immersive experiences, the area provides every traveler with a sense of adventure. Its attractions, such as the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods National Monument, and the Point Reyes National Seashore, offer sights that both challenge and reward. Here, magnificent landscapes and a variety of outdoor activities meet to provide a memorable and unique retreat. With so many choices, San Rafael is a must-visit destination for nature-lovers of all kinds.

Top Spots in and near San Rafael

  • Sonoma County, California

    Kortum Trail

    9.27 mi / 968 ft gain
    The Kortum Trail in the Sonoma Coast State Park connects Goat Rock with Wrights Beach, winding along the top of the sea cliffs and affording incredible views of the California Coast and its numerous sea rocks and arches.  To get there take the Pacific Coast Highway / Highway 1 to either Wright's...
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  • Calistoga, California

    Hike the Oat Hill Mine Trail

    5.0
    8.3 mi
    The incline on this trail begins pretty much right away and is fairly gradual for the entire hike, some of it is quite rocky, making this an easy to moderate level hike. However, with some shade (probably wouldn't attempt it on a hot summer day) and the sweeping views of the valley that get bette...
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  • Calistoga, California

    Hike Bald Hill in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park

    3.2 mi / 1200 ft gain
    Bald Hill is the first serious peak/summit that can be reached via the Oat Hill Mine Trail as it breaks from the more popular loop and heads into the heart of Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. To get there you can either begin at the less frequently used trailhead at Picket and Rosedale Roads he...
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  • Fremont, California

    Lake Elizabeth Loop

    3.0
    2.1 mi / 69 ft gain
    Lake Elizabeth is located in central Fremont.  It offers a nice break from the city streets and can be enjoyed by walkers, joggers, and bikers alike.  It is a park for all ages.   Other attractions include volleyball nets, multiple playgrounds, and aqua adventure park, geese, and peddle boats. ...
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  • Forestville, California

    Sunset Beach River Park

    4.0
    Sunset Beach River Park is located off River Road in Forestville, California. The beach offers up picturesque views of the Russian River and is a great spot to end your float if starting at Steelhead Beach. The Beach: The beach is about a quarter of a mile walk from the parking area. Keep this ...
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  • Forestville, California

    Mother's Beach ("Mom's Beach")

    4.0
    Mother's Beach, known locally as Mom's Beach, is located in Forestville, California. This beach is a hidden gem situated on the scenic Russian River, between Steelhead Beach and Sunset Beach.  Dog Friendly: Mom's Beach is a great spot to bring your pup on a leash.  Times of Operation: The bea...
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  • Monte Rio, California

    Monte Rio Community Beach

    Monte Rio Community Beach is located in the Sonoma County town of Monte Rio. The beach nestles up to the Russian River offering a great chance for families to kick back and relax by the water or bring your kayak or stand-up paddle board for fun on the water. Dog-Friendly: Monte Rio Community Be...
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  • Sunol, California

    Hike the Pleasanton Ridge Trail

    4.3
    6.4 mi / 1443 ft gain
    Pleasanton Ridge Trail is a 6.4 mile loop. The loop is shared by dog walkers, trail runners, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. From the ridge your viewpoints will include Mount Diablo and the San Francisco Bay.  This hike from the Foothills Staging Area is an excellent introduction ...
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  • Monte Rio, California

    Islands in the Sky Vista Loop

    4.0
    3.83 mi / 883 ft gain
    The Islands in the Sky Vista Loop in Monte Rio, California, is a moderately challenging hiking trail. Spanning approximately 3.83 miles, the loop offers a variety of terrain, including forested areas, open meadows, and rocky outcrops. The trail is well-marked and maintained, making it suitable fo...
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  • Sonoma County, California

    Red Hill and Pomo Canyon Loop

    4.8
    4.73 mi / 981 ft gain
    Park in the Shell Beach parking lot, north of Bodega Bay proper but just south of Goat Rock State Beach on Highway 1. Cross the road to pick up the Dr. David C. Joseph Memorial Trail heading up away from the ocean. Follow the trail, staying right toward Red Hill. (The trail forks off down Pomo Ca...
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  • Stanford, California

    Sunset Picnic at Kite Hill

    4.0
    Kite Hill is nothing more than what the name describes. A simple ascent less than 100 feet in elevation. But that 100 feet is all you need to feel like you discovered a little escape from the buzz below.To get there, you can park directly at the base of Kite Hill along Peter Coutts Rd and simply ...
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  • Winters, California

    Homestead & Blue Ridge Loop

    5.0
    4.46 mi / 1299 ft gain
    At the bend in the road on Highway 128, you will pass two silver gates. The gate with the UC Davis logo is the entrance to the trailhead. Past the entrance there is a large dirt pullout off the road with plenty of parking. Starting at the trailhead, go left in the fork to start the loop trail. T...
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  • Winters, California

    Hike the Stebbins Cold Canyon Loop

    4.0
    4.5 mi / 350 ft gain
    Stebbins Cold Canyon is a great day hike for all skill levels, accessible year round, and offers an abundance of wild flower viewing, including the California poppy. Tog get to the hike, head about 8 miles west of Winters, CA, where a silver fire gate marks the main entrance to the Stebbins Cold ...
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  • Stanford, California

    Stanford Dish Loop

    4.4
    3.67 mi / 472 ft gain
    If you live in the Palo Alto area and are looking for a place to hike or run, The Dish is a close, and great way to get that exercise. Located right on the corner of Stanford Ave and Junipero Serra, you'll see that small gated entrance right when you drive on by. As far as parking goes, you're le...
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  • Winters, California

    Hike the Homestead-Blue Ridge Loop

    5.0
    From the official trailhead, start off by taking the Homestead Trail, which forks towards the right. A trail connecting Homestead and Blue Ridge will take you to a creek nearby. Veer off the trail along the creek and there is a water hole for cooling off on hot days. Onward into the trail, you wi...
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  • Winters, California

    Fly Fishing on the Putah

    4.0
    Putah Creek is a little over an hour drive from SF without traffic. The creek has flows beginning in April, which can reach up to 700cfs during the summer months. The creek begins to drop after September. Keep in mind that wet-wading isn't recommended until the river is under 300cfs. Most fly fis...
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