Trail users looking for a better view

Catching a glimpse of the water surrounding The City can be challenging at times with tall buildings blocking the view.

Seven miles of trails snake through San Francisco streets and open space, offering plenty of unobstructed views of the Bay and ocean. Not all portions of the Bay Area Ridge Trail through The City, though, accomplish this goal.

The area along Aquavista Way, on the west side of Twin Peaks, doesn’t offer sights that live up to its name. It is an oversight the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council is working to change.

The Bay Area Ridge Trail is 400 consecutive miles of trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use created two decades ago to expose residents to the Bay in all surrounding counties. But the highest point of The City’s seven-mile portion of the trail misses the mark.

According to Bern Smith, South Bay trail director with the council, when the trail was created, organizers decided to avoid the peaks, which would have offered a 360-degree view but also a steeper climb.

“You’re walking right on the side,” he said, “not one or two blocks from Twin Peaks.”

Though changes may be years off, Smith said, discussions could propel the project forward. Smith said ideas include improving existing trails and creating one lane of pavement for vehicles while opening a second to foot traffic.

San Francisco’s portion of the trail begins at Fort Funston and winds north through city streets — around Twin Peaks — and many parks. North of Twin Peaks, hikers and bikers are led through Buena Vista Park, the Panhandle and along Arguello Boulevard to the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Craig Dawson, executive director of the Mount Sutro Stewards, said increasing access for city-dwellers to their favorite open space is part of the goal.

“The conceptual idea goes back a decade,” he said. “Now, though, there is a movement to gain greater connectivity in green corridors and off urban streets. We’re on the rise again.”

 

Have a peek

  • 7 Miles of trail in San Francisco
  • 400 Consecutive miles on Bay Ridge Trail
  • 910 Feet Twin Peaks is above sea level
  • Starts at the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Ends at Fort Funston
  • Stays in greenbelts as much as possible
  • Stays on streets around Twin Peaks
  • Provides 360-degree view

Source: Bay Ridge Trail Council

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