Headlands; Mt. Tamalpias; Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Headlands. This is a fabulous but challenging area for running with unparalleled views. The area is very large. You can run on the main vehicle road (although there are no sidewalks), or on any one of the countless trails. It is about 5 miles along the road from Vista Point to Rodeo Beach, and about 6 miles using the off-road ‘coastal trail’. Note: the trails are hilly and rugged. I don’t recommend running alone — there are coyotes and mountain lions.
Mt. Tamalpias. About 15 miles from San Francisco, “Mt. Tam” is a wonderful run/hike, with spectacular views at the summit. There are hundreds of miles of trails in this area. A series of fire roads provide a relatively gentle “switch back” route to the top of Mt. Tam, 5–7 miles to the 2,500 foot summit depending on route taken.
Point Reyes National Seashore. If you have time, this is a day trip. A true “destination” run. Point Reyes is a spectacular walking/hiking/running/driving area, with myriad trails and excellent variety — from beautiful green pastures to views of crashing ocean surf. A fantastic run/hike is to take your time and do the ~5 mile run from Pierce Point Ranch to Tamales Point. Then, take a leisurely drive back to San Francisco along Rt. 1, stopping for a bite at one of the eclectic restaurants along the way.