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Travel / December 31, 2015

The Bay Area’s best sunset hikes

Written by: Guest Writer

Daylight savings is here again. Which means most of us working folk only get the see the sun during our morning commute and our lunch break.

And that stinks. So this week, we’ve rounded up three great sunset viewing hikes that are worth dipping out of work early for (the sun sets around 5 p.m. right now).

San Francisco’s Bernal Hill

Bay Area's best sunset hikes | San Francisco's Bernal Hill |

We don’t have to tell you that life in San Francisco can be stressful. Between the high rent and the long restaurant lines, it can be hard to maintain a healthy perspective even on even the sunniest days.

A hike up Bernal Hill should help with that. The hike is steep but short, and the summit offers a 360-degree view of the city. Several unmarked but well-maintained durt trails reach the summit, and each takes about 40 minutes to hike.

If you go: Bernal Hill is the centerpiece of Bernal Heights Park, which charges no use or parking fees and is open every day from 5 a.m. to midnight. The park is dog friendly, and off-leash roaming is permitted. 

Photo by Jake French. 

Berkeley’s Tilden Regional Park

Bay Area's best sunset hikes | Berkeley's Tilden Regional Park |

These days, Tilden Park‘s Inspiration Point is anything but inspiring. The views are great, sure—but the last thing anyone wants after a long day of work is to watch a crowd of people ruin a beautiful sunset with their selfie sticks.

Fortunately, Inspiration Point isn’t the area’s only sunset-viewing option. There’s also the 3.9-mile out-and-back up Wildcat Peak, which climbs 750 feet through eucalyptus groves. Or, for the wheelchair/stroller crowd, the paved 1.5-mile loop from the Inspiration Point parking lot (at 2501 Grizzly Peak Blvd.)

If you go: To reach Wildcat Peak, park at the Environmental Education Center and follow a dirt road to the Wildcat Peak Trail. When the dirt road ends, take a left for a short climb to the peak itself. The park charges no parking, use, or pet fees (leashed dogs are allowed), and a trail map is available online.

Photo by Joe Parks.

Oakland’s Roberts Recreation Area

Bay Area's best sunset hikes | Oakland's Roberts Recreation Area |

For parents of young children and for hikers more dependent on the comforts of home, Roberts Regional Recreation Area offers a low-commitment sunset viewing option. The park’s hikes are short and easy, and bathrooms are always nearby.

If you enter through the park’s main entrance (10570 Skyline Blvd.), park, and take the trail at the southeast corner, you’ll be only a quarter of a mile away from a good view.

If you go: The park charges $5 per vehicle for parking (and $4 extra if you have a trailer) and $2 for each dog. Dogs must be on a leash. A trail map is available online

Photo by Joe Parks. Words by Brian Krans. 


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Guest Writer

From time to time, guest writers contribute their material to Shoulders of Giants. Interested in becoming a guest writer? Contact [email protected]

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