5 San Francisco Hills That Are Worth The Climb

Photo of Noam Baruch
25 April 2017

Layer up and visit some of SF’s greatest hilltops. If you’re not familiar with SF weather, be sure to bring your windbreaker, a scarf, 3 extra layers and maybe someone to cuddle with. There are a total of 44 hills in San Francisco, and here we have come up with the top five tops to drool over (though there were many runner-ups!) and to make your leg day a bit more scenic. Disclaimer: photos below represent San Francisco on a rare sunny day, best not to make the trek if it is foggy out.

San Francisco | © NickWilkes

Corona Heights

Museum, Park, Dog Park
Map View
If you make it to the top, this park will reward you with some breathtaking views of the city. A local favorite, Corona Heights is located just above the Castro district and just below Twin Peaks and you are guaranteed to find a spectacular 360 degree view of the extent of San Francisco (unless it is foggy). Lots of locals and tourists venture up the peak to get away from the city where there is a cool rock formation to climb on. On your walk up you will find lots of local wildflowers including the California poppy as well as a very friendly dog park. The trail is easy to follow, there are signs indicating you to the stairs.

Billy Goat Hill

Park, Hill Station
Map View
You’ll find Billy Goat Hill in the Diamond Heights neighborhood with amazing views of the city and bay. The climb is up a grassland hill to a secluded and intimate wooden-fenced park. The real treat though is the rope swing that will make you feel like you are flying off the hill. Locals usually come to this hill just for the swing and if they find it’s been cut down, usually they’ll leave. You’ll find with every visit the swing constantly changes. In the past it has gone from wooden plank to skateboard to orange cone to who knows what’s next. This hill is a well-kept hidden gem of San Francisco where many people come to let out their inner child, take pictures, have a picnic or just enjoy the view.

Twin Peaks

Hill Station, Park
Map View
Twin Peaks offers views of San Francisco like no other place does
Twin Peaks offers views of San Francisco like no other place does | © Rasmus Zwickson / Flickr
The iconic Twin Peaks were originally called Los Pechos de la Choca (Breasts of the Maiden) by Early Spanish settlers, but today you can just called them San Francisco’s tatas due to their two adjacent peaks. You’ll find a breathtaking view of the city’s downtown and a straight shot down Market, the main street in San Francisco that stretches to the Embarcadero Ferry Building. You’ll come across people from all over the world taking memorable shots or admiring the view. It is a great spot for hanging out with friends, filling out your journal or even napping in your car. You can hop over to the twin peak on the other side of the parking lot for a 360 degree view of the city.

Grand View Park

Map View
Also called Turtle Hill by local residents, Grand View Park peaks out in the Inner Sunset district with dazzling views stretching from downtown SF and across the Bay to Lake Merced and Golden Gate Park. The appropriately-named park is one of the only parks in the city that conserves a number of endangered native plants such as the dune tansy, beach strawberry, and the coyote bush that flourishes on the hill. Tip: enter from 16th and Moraga and climb up the beautiful mosaic stairs leading to the top, brought to you by The 16th Ave Tiled Steps Project.

Mt. Davidson

Park, Hill Station
Map View
Pick a clear day like this one and make your way up the tallest hill in San Francisco with an elevation of 928 feet. It’s a little tricky finding the trail head but once you get on it you will embark on a beautiful short hike circling up the mountain surrounded by eucalyptus trees and native California greenery. At the top you will be blown away by the sights, from downtown to Ocean Beach. There is a white cross mounted at the top that can be seen throughout the city memorialising the victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide.
By Noam Baruch

Noam will be completing her BA with a focus in Psychology and Communications at Tel Aviv University this spring. Born in Tel Aviv and raised in San Francisco, she has a developed a deep fascination for cross-cultural communications and multiculturalism. She loves to expand her musical palate, swim, bike, and discover new places to eat, drink, and do around this small yet happening city.