You have to admit, we’re pretty lucky to live here in the Bay Area with both the mountains and the beaches just a short drive away. The winter can be a great time of year to take your kid crew out on a family hike as the trails are less crowded and the views are just as beautiful. We gathered up a bunch of our favorite sunny hikes to keep you warm and even a few stroller-friendly hikes that are great in the winter. Don’t miss the hike that just may give you a glimpse of a migrating whale!

photo: Kate Loweth

San Francisco

Lands End Trail
We love Lands End any time of year but it's particularly beautiful (and less crowded) in the winter months. Park in the lots by the visitor's center and then head out on the trail or drop down to explore the Sutro Baths first. The majority of the Lands End Trail is stroller friendly although there are a few offshoots to spots like the labyrinth that are not. Length: 3.4 mile loop 

Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts Trail
The Presidio is a great spot to visit in the winter and we are especially eager to check out the brand new marshland, the Quartermaster Reach Marsh. This loop trail will take you right nearby and also along Crissy Field with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Length: 3.9 mile loop

East Bay

Mary Bowerman Trail—Mount Diablo
For a view like no other, head over to Mount Diablo, just a short drive from Concord. Head up the mountain to the tippy top to check out the visitors center and learn all about the area's Native American history. The word on the street is that if you visit Mount Diablo the day after a winter rain storm you'll be able to see for hundreds of miles. Typical days offer a still-remarkable bird's-eye view above the clouds. Length: 0.8 mile

Ridge Top Loop Trail—Mount Diablo
This is another fun option that's a little longer. Great views of Walnut Creek and Concord from the top. Length: 2.8 miles

Redwood Regional Park—Oakland
The ladybugs arrive every fall at Redwood Regional Park and it's a great hike for the kids Follow map to Skyline Gate Staging Area parking lot. Take the Stream Trail about 1.5 miles just past Prince Trail junction and you’ll see a sign on the right. Ladybugs are all there, usually through February. Length: 3.0 miles

photo: Kate Loweth

Penisula/South Bay

Mori Point Loop Trail—Pacifica
We love this spot in the winter when you can look for migrating gray whale offshore. Bonus: most of the trails here are doable with stroller. Some are inclined and bumpy but worth the awesome ocean views. Keep your eyes open for blooming wild flowers, San Francisco Garter snakes and California red-legged frogs, both threatened native wildlife that thrive in the area. Accessible trail off of Old Mori Rd. has restrooms nearby. Dress in layers as it gets pretty windy. Length: 2.5 miles

Stanford Dish—Palo Alto
This gorgeous hike takes you up into the rolling hills near the famed satellite dish that you can see from 280. Park at Junipero Serra Blvd. and Stanford Ave. and you can catch the paved trail from here. The trail makes a loop and is fully exposed and at times can be really steep. Best time to visit is on the weekdays as the trail can get busy with hikers on the weekends. Use the bathroom before you go and carry your water as there are no facilities on site. Length: 3.7 miles

Fremont Older—Saratoga
This hundreds-of-acres large preserve includes miles of wide, pleasant trails. Enter the park gate at Prospect Road for a view of Silicon Valley, or take the Seven Springs Loop to enjoy the oak groves and search for lizards in the meadow. This trail can be hilly and is popular with bicyclists.


Batteries Loop Trail—Marin Headlands
We love this 1-mile loop trail as it shows you some history of the area. There are several Civil War-era batteries on this short loop that are fun to explore. If you wish, you can walk down the stairs to Rodeo Beach on the water's edge below to add on to your hike. Length: 1 mile

Tomales Bay Trail—Tomales
We love this option for a winter hike as you start off at a parking lot with plenty of spaces. If you make it all the way to end, you'll be in the marshy part of Tomales Bay Ecological reserve, a cool place to visit any time of year. Kids will love seeing the cows grazing nearby. Length: 2.5 miles

—Kate Loweth


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