Bay Area Hikes with Kids
Fall is the perfect time to get out with your family and enjoy the Bay Area’s natural beauty, while staying in shape. Don’t let little ones put a crimp in your hiking plans. The personal trainers from DIAKADI Fitness Performance Life in San Francisco recommend the following hikes that are great for the entire family.
"A good one that's not too long with a 10-month-old is the Bernal Heights Mountain,” says trainer Christian Pitkin, father of 1-year-old Chase. “Put the little guy in a backpack chair on your back and off you go!”
“The Bernal Heights hike is right in the heart of Bernal Heights neighborhood in San Francisco. Although there are multiple ways to get there, the best way is to make your way to Cortland Avenue, where there are several restaurants, shops and more to visit after your hike. If heading west on Cortland (coming from the 101 freeway), take a right on Anderson Street. Drive up the hill a few blocks and you will be at the base of the little mountain. Park along the street called Bernal Heights Boulevard, which intersects Anderson. And the hike is simply a loop with city views all the way around. At certain points, you can decide to cut up a trail from the loop-like road to get to the top faster. Incredible breathtaking views!”
The Presidio (Fort Point and Baker Beach Coast Trail)
“My daughter and I have taken many hikes in the Presidio area,” says Shawn Toussaint, father of Eulalia, age 10. “These are some awesome hikes with plenty of historical U.S. military facts. The walk down Lovers Lane is a cool spot to see. It’s the path the soldiers took after meeting their loved ones after long deployments. It’s an easy hike that's just outside our back door."
Marin and North Bay
“This is a 1-mile hike down to bunkers, eucalyptus trees, secluded beach and city views from under the Golden Gate Bridge. But don't forget that you still need to hike the one mile back up!” says Chelsea Perramond, mother of Madeira, age 11, and Colette, age 9. “This family friendly hike is best for the early risers. Parking at the first headlands bunker above the bridge is tough after 10 a.m. So, arrive early and enjoy the easy 1-mile hike down to picnic tables on top of the bunker or beautiful beach just under the Golden Gate Bridge.”
“We love the amazing city and ocean views and the cool swing on the east side of the beach. And the mileage is perfect for smaller kids.”
“This loop in Sonoma (about 2.5 miles) has varied terrain including uphill climb and stream crossings, so it’s best for older kids,” says Perramond.
“Park in the winery parking lot and walk west toward the lake to begin. Begin by the lake, climb hills, cross rivers and complete your adventure by picnicking at the gazebo in the park (which has clean bathrooms within the arboretum). Grab a bottle of wine to enjoy a picnic while kids play in the open grass. Dogs are allowed but have to be kept on a leash.”
“We love the varied terrain, shade on hot days and the beautiful views. Plus, it ends at a winery!”
“Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland is beautiful!” says Pitkin. “Use GPS for Joaquin Miller Park to find the start of the Park trail on Joaquin Miller Road. This park has absolutely one of the best views in the Bay Area, great trails and the option for shorter or longer trails, which is a great feature for kids.
“There is an elevated spot that looks back west toward Oakland, San Francisco and the Peninsula. Then, the trail goes through a lot of forest for your little munchkin to take in the lush trees of the outdoors. Eventually, there is an opening where there is a big meadow that sunlight comes through. This is a great spot to have a picnic with the family. Enjoy!”
“This is the perfect way to get kids to hike – bribe them by feeding animals and enjoying a picnic first,” says Perramond. “This 1.1-mile loop begins at the educational center at Little Farm in Tilden Park, Berkeley. Bring lots of celery and enjoy feeding goats, sheep and cows. The animals are in a sun-filled open area while trees provide shade on the hike. Great for little ones!”
“The trail is not a fire road and gives kids a true forest feeling. We love the animals, great areas to picnic and good bathrooms in the educational center.
Warning: no dogs are allowed on the farm.”
“Our urban hike is typically the San Francisco Bay Trail, extending all the way down the Bay’s coast,” says trainer Josh Moberg, father of Jude, age 3.
“We start at Sierra Point, go through Oyster Point and San Bruno Point to Millbrae. We stop along the way to watch seagulls, sit at benches, collect rocks, and skip rocks in the Bay. Our boy is obsessed with airplanes so this trail is perfect as it ends at San Francisco International Airport.”
More information on these and other hiking trials can be found at www.alltrails.com.
DIAKADI Fitness Performance Life is the Bay Area’s largest personal training-only facility. In addition to its team of personal trainers, the San Francisco business also offers services and amenities including an organic personal chef, physical and massage therapy, laundry and towel service and more. For more information, visit www.diakadibody.com.