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.

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