Walk SF’s Peak2Peak mixes urban landscapes and open spaces

Think of San Francisco, and a few images consistently leap to mind: the fog (affectionately referred to as “Karl”), the hills, the Bay and the landmarks — the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower, Golden Gate Park and Golden Gate Bridge, to name a few.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, Walk San Francisco will host its annual Peak2Peak urban trek, the only experience of its kind that takes you across 13 miles and over 10 peaks for an insiders’ guided half marathon across The City.

This year’s half marathon delivers a newly designed route that fully embraces The City’s quad-straining hills (and stairways!) to deliver spectacular hilltop views. To celebrate the recent news that San Francisco has become the first city in the nation to have a park within a 10-minute walk of every home, this year’s Peak2Peak will explore many of San Francisco’s beautiful parks, providing the perfect mix of urban landscapes and more untamed open spaces. For more curious wanderers, the walk also includes an abundance of lesser-known rewards for those willing to conquer the steep ascents, city sidewalks and muddy off-street hiking trails.

Start your walking adventure in the heart of the Financial District (conveniently close to BART/Muni), then make your way through some of The City’s most iconic neighborhoods, including Chinatown, North Beach and Russian Hill. By lunchtime, find yourself inside the Presidio, where you will enjoy a delicious, catered picnic lunch from Radio Africa & Kitchen.

From lunch, you have a choice to make: Take the official shortcut to Alamo Square, or challenge (and treat) yourself to a rejuvenating walk through groves of Coastal Oak in Golden Gate Park and Eucalyptus on Mount Sutro before you set off to conquer the last trio of peaks. At each of the 10 summits, you can tick off your accomplishment with a stamp in your route “passport,” which is included with the Peak2Peak Guidebook.

Peak2Peak is Walk SF’s annual fundraiser and supports the nonprofit’s life-saving mission to make walking in San Francisco safe for everyone. Peak2Peak tickets not only include a guided group walk, breakfast, lunch and celebratory beer toast at the end (for those who make it), but also an annual household membership with The City’s only nonprofit advocating for pedestrian rights, including great member perks like a complimentary Peak2Peak poster, an “I Walk SF” T-shirt and a year’s worth of free monthly walks.

Participants can also raise funds for their walk, turning it into a “peak-a-thon” at Rally.org (an easy online crowd-funding app). The top three fundraisers will be recognized and receive prizes for their efforts at the end of the walk.

Space on Peak2Peak is limited to ensure an intimate, high-quality experience — whether you’re walking with your own group, making new friends or forging your way independently with the turn-by-turn directions in the Guidebook.

Find out why past Peak2Peak participants love this event. For five-time walker Jeanette Arpagaus, “The day Peak2Peak happens is my favorite day of the year!” Ellen Kahn, who joined for the first time in 2016, said she “Can’t wait! I loved the last Peak2Peak and have been looking forward to this for a year!”

Even Peak2Peak group walk leaders like Theresa Lee, who commutes to work every day by foot, shared, “I walk everywhere in this city and do my own extensive urban hikes, and I still discover a new hidden gem every year during Peak2Peak.”

As if that weren’t reason enough, don’t forget: As walk leader Randy Wittorp of Kaiser Permanente points out, “Walking can be one of the most convenient, low-impact forms of exercise we can do. Whether incorporating walking into errands, commutes or weekend activities like Peak2Peak, you can lose weight, improve your health and feel happier.”

To learn more about this uniquely San Franciscan challenge and reserve your spot (before the event sells out again for the sixth year in a row), visit walksf.org/peak2peak.

Natalie Burdick
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Natalie Burdick

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