Monday, September 22, 2014

Hike All of SF Post 9: Juan Bautista de Anza Trail

I'm on a mission to #hikeallofsf. These are the stories of my hikes. ______________________________________________________
Hike Name: Juan Bautista de Anza Trail
Distance: 12 miles!
Elevation: negligible
Difficulty: Difficult
Time: 5-8 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash

Hike Description
Since most people have a day off on Labor Day, I decided to take advantage of that to assemble some friends and tackle one of San Francisco's longest hikes, the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail. While the trail is 1,200 miles long in total, it covers 12 miles in San Francisco. This route Marks where Lieutenant Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza led 245 men, women, and children on an journey to establish a settlement at San Francisco Bay between the years of 1775 and 1776. Some trail highlights include Mountain Lake, Immigrant Point, and Rob Hill Campground, the only overnight campground in mainland San Francisco. The red dotted line on this site shows you the entire route. If you can’t swing the whole thing (totally understandable!), I recommend that you do the the 2.7-mile/5.4-mile round trip section through the Presidio.

Route Details

Since de Anza was coming from Mexico, he completed his trek from south to north, but I recommend doing the opposite and starting your walk at the Golden Gate Bridge. You can start your walk by picking up the Batteries to Bluffs Trail from the Golden Gate Bridge parking lot. When you reach Dove Loop right after Batter Godfrey, head back to Lincoln Boulevard. Stay on Lincoln Boulevard until you reach Washington Boulevard, which you'll take to the aforementioned Rob Hill Campground. Feel free to explore the campground and then head back to Washington Boulevard. Follow Washington Boulevard South and then continue your route on Battery Caulfield Road. From here, you should start to see signs for the "Anza Trail." When we did the hike, there was a hike detour on Battery Caulfield Road, and we turned left onto a trail toward Mountain Lake just before the street turns into Wedemeyer Street. Follow the trail around Mountain Lake and see where the de Anza expedition camped while looking for a good place to found the Presidio. If you need a bathroom break by now, this is the perfect place to go. 

Trail to Mountain Lake from Battery Caulfield Road
 After your tour of Mountain Lake, head toward Funston Avenue. You are now exiting the Presidio. If you opt for the 5.4-mile round trip route, this is where you can turn around.

To continue on, follow Funston Avenue until you reach Golden Gate Park. Then you can take JFK Drive to Transverse Drive to MLK Drive. There are paved trails throughout the park, but if you look parallel to these trails, you'll often find dirt trails you can take instead. After 25th Avenue, you can take a dirt trail that will take you southwest toward Lincoln Way. Walk along Lincoln (or on parallel dirt trails inside the park!) until you reach Sunset Boulevard. 

One of many dirt trails in Golden Gate Park

Once you reach Sunset Boulevard, the hike become a little difficult. Not because the route is treacherous, but because - it was flat and straightm and loooong, and  there wasn't much to look at. Luckily, I knew beautiful Lake Meced was coming. 

When you reach Lake Merced Boulevard, take a right and head toward Skyline Boulevard to walk along the lake. You can take this path along the entire western side of the lake. At the lake's southernmost point, continue on to Lake Merced Boulevard and make a right onto John Daly Boulevard. You can take John Daly Boulevard to its intersection with Skyline Boulevard and your hike is done. Whew, that was a tough one. Congrats on a job well done.

Lake Merced after a loooong stretch on Sunset Boulevard
Getting there
  • Public Transit: This page offers detailed information on the public transit options for getting to the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Parking: This page offers detailed information on parking options for the Golden Gate Bridge.

Juan Bautista de Anza History
Juan Bautista de Anza was born in Sonora, New Spain (Mexico) in 1736. He joined the army in 1752 and served on the northern frontier of Sonora. In 1772, de Anza asked the Viceroy of New Spain for permission to explore Alta California. A group of 3 priests, 20 soldiers, 11 servants, and a number of horses, mules, and cattle took off to explore Arizona and made it to Monterey, California two years later in 1774. On a second Mission, 245 people joined de Anza on a trip back north with the goal of reaching San Francisco. When group made it to Monterey, de Anza, Father Pedro Font, and a number of soldiers continued the trek north to the Bay Area. There, he located the site of Presidio of San Francisco and Mission San Francisco de Asis (now Mission Dolores). 

Fun fact: If you take a look at the list of families who joined de Anza on his expedition, you can see many last names have been turned into San Francisco street names.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hike All of SF Post 8: Lobos Creek Valley Trail

I'm on a mission to #hikeallofsf. These are the stories of my hikes.

Hike Name: Lobos Creek Valley Trail
Distance: 0.8 miles round trip
Elevation: 50 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Time: < 1 hour
Dog Friendly: Dogs not permitted

Today's planned 5k turned into an unplanned half marathon around the northern neighborhoods of San Francisco. My friend Debbie and I awakened early to do a quick race on Crissy Field with the Dolphin South End Runners. When we found ourselves done by 9:30, we decided to take advantage of the day to keep exercising.

We headed out on foot in the direction of the Legion of Honor, but with momentum ruling over us, we skipped the museum and continued walking to Ocean Beach...and back (Strava proof of walk and Strava proof of 5k). 

While walking down Lincoln Boulevard, I realized we were heading right by a hiking trail I'd been meaning to visit, the Lobos Creek Valley Trail. At around 0.8 miles round trip, this is one of the shorter trails in the city. For someone who's looking for some serious exercise, this trail is best done as part of a longer walk. However, if you want a quick jaunt through some nature, this is a nice way to go.

The trail starts on Bowley Street just before its intersection with Lincoln Boulevard. At the trailhead, you'll find an introduction to the area plus a boardwalk that will take you through the first part of the hike.


The path is flat and is built upon a restored dune habitat and is surrounded by dry, brown plant life and some small green bushes (at least at this point in the year). 

At about 0.4 miles, the boardwalk ends and you can walk up a few stairs into a sandy area shaded by Monterey Cypress Trees. 


At the end of this path, you'll end up on concrete at the Lobos Creek Valley Overlook. From here, you can look down upon the entirety of the path you just took. 

Note: Even this trail is called the Lobos Creek Valley trail, the actual Lobos Creek is not visible from the trail. If you want to see the creek, you can view it at the west end of Baker Beach.

To return to your start and complete your loop, head back through the cypress grove. Instead of turning left to go back down the stairs, continue straight. Keep walking on the dirt path until you see the parking lot and three buildings on your left. After the last building, turn left to reach the trailhead.

About Lobos Creek
Lobos Creek is the only free flowing creek remaining in San Francisco. Yosemite, Islais,  and Mission Creeks have long been rerouted and in some cases diverted underground from their original paths. Lobos Creek originates in the southwestern corner of the Presidio and flows into the Pacific Ocean at Baker Beach. The creek is the Presidio's primary water source today.

The dunes around the creek were destroyed while the Presidio was a military base. Restoration began in 1994 and was comlpeted in 1996. The dunes now house over 130 plant species as well as birds and butterflies.