San Francisco, Marin County, and the surrounding Bay Area is a trail runners paradise that features hundreds (if not thousands) of miles of trails through and along coastal canyons and up and down thousand-foot peaks. And as any trail runner will tell you, there’s nothing like the restorative joy of a victory beer (or two) after a good, long run.
In 1894 the Spring Valley Water Company needed a place to store water that was pumped from the Laguna Honda Reservoir on the western side of the ridge of hills that runs through the center of San Francisco. Tank Hill was perfectly positioned just east of the saddle running between Twin Peaks and Mount Sutro and the Reservoir and rapidly growing downtown.
The tank was removed in the 50's, and the City wisely rejected plans for a housing development and instead purchased the land with monies from the Open Space Fund.
Nowadays it remains one of San Francisco's best-kept *secrets*. Most people miss it as they drive buy on their way to Twin Peaks. Tank Hill gives panoramic views from Ocean Beach to Point Reyes and all the way to Oakland and Bayview, with benches and a rope swing. There are two official trails to the summit, but enterprising hikers (and trail runners) know of a glorious (but short) single-track n' scramble up the northern, rugged face.
About a week ago it was 85 degrees in San Francisco. In April. And in two months it will be 50 in the middle of the afternoon. No-one knows who said “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” but it is as true today as it was then.
From June to September the blustery winds blowing Karl the Fog through the Golden Gate chills shorts-and-T-shirt-wearing tourists to the bone, leaving many wondering “just when do I get to see the beautiful city in all those movies?” As any local will tell you, San Francisco has two summers: a brief one in April-May just after the rains and before Karl the Fog arrives in force, and then another for six weeks beginning in late September and through October.
My personal favorite is our summer in May. The rains leave Northern California looking so emerald green it could easily be mistaken as western Ireland. The lingering clouds provide breathtaking sunsets and sunrises over the ocean. The rivers are full. Everything is alive.
In San Francisco there is no finer view than that from its front porch: "Turtle Hill" to locals, or "Grand View Park" if you're checking a map.
If the North American continent is a ship then Grand View Park is the bow, giving epic, vast views up and down the California coast and of Golden Gate Park, the Marin Headlands, Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown. Sunset here is breathtaking at all times of year, but watch out for Karl the Fog crashing the party.