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Join us for a bike ride on the Crosstown Trail. This time we’ll ride Southbound. Start at the Lands End Visitor Center, then pass through GGNRA, Park Presidio Greenway, Golden Gate Park, Golden Gate Heights, Laguna Honda Community Trails, College Hill, McLaren Park, the Visitacion Valley Greenway, Little Hollywood, Candlestick State Recreation Area, and more.
“Mixed terrain” is the name of the game–some trails (mostly mild), roads ranging from freshly paved to not-so-freshly-paved, and paved pathways. There’s even some stairways, though there are always alternates to avoid the stairs.
Steady pace ride; be prepared to ride with minimal breaks, though we will pause at restrooms and water along the way as needed. Bring a water bottle and snacks, there will be breaks but no designated food stops.
Distance is about 17 miles and over 2500′ of elevation gained.
Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is a wonderful park on the edge of the city. Leaving the park as you head north on Section 1, the route takes you across a wide street at a safe crosswalk — but one that can be hard to find because the nearby Endangered Garden may draw you in.
The Crosstown Trail starts at the Sunrise Point fishing pier, then follows the shoreline on a paved trail, a narrow dirt trail, then on the vehicle-width, natural-surface “Last Port Trail.” It then reaches a section of colored concrete sidewalk near Harney Way.
This sidewalk is part of the “Endangered Garden” created by Patricia Johanson. The sidewalk is in the shape and color of the San Francisco Garter Snake, and continues out to the sewage facilities. It’s worth the trip to check out the art and the view. You can learn more at http://patriciajohanson.com/projects/endangered-garden.html
To continue on the Crosstown Trail, veer right and follow the dirt path along the road (Harney Way) back towards the east. In a few hundred feet, you will reach a gate that leads to a crosswalk with an all-way stop. Cross there, and continue on Executive Park Boulevard, which will take you to the Blanken undercrossing beneath Hwy. 101, the Little Hollywood neighborhood, and beyond.
Join us for an 8-mile hike along a particularly scenic and varied stretch of the Crosstown Trail, from Mountain Lake Park in the Richmond to Glen Park BART. Sights include the Park Presidio Greenway, Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, tiled stairways and the Green Hairstreak Corridor ecological restoration in Golden Gate Heights, Laguna Honda Hospital’s farm and garden, and Glen Canyon’s restored riparian habitat. Meet at the Mountain Lake Park Playground (near Funston Ave. & Lake St.). Restrooms at start. Bring water and snacks; we’ll take a few bio-breaks along the route, which finishes at Glen Park BART. Both the start and finish are well-served by transit.
When: Sunday, July 21, 2019
Start: Meet at the Mountain Lake Park playground, just north of Lake St. near Funston Ave. Arrive in time for a prompt 10 a.m. departure.
Finish: Glen Park BART station, approximately 2 p.m.
“What if I hosted a hike across San Francisco and nobody
came?” Such were my thoughts as I stood at Candlestick Point, at the southeast
corner of the city, on the morning of Saturday, June 1. I had offered to lead a
hike along the brand-new Crosstown Trail,
which reaches all the way to Lands End at the northwest. Word had gone out to a
remarkably large network of open-space enthusiasts. Now, would anyone show up?
First, hiking partners Debra and John strode up. Then, four
women who came all the way from San Carlos. All told, more than 25 urban
explorers joined me for an 8-mile hike through the verdant Visitacion Valley
Greenway, McLaren Park’s redwood trees, and Glen Canyon, once slated for a
freeway but now restored as a riparian habitat.
A highlight was our visit to the Virginia Leishman Farm and
Garden, hidden amid a tangle of forested trails above Laguna Honda Hospital and
offering animal-assisted therapy and horticulture to hospital residents. Who
knew there were goats – and pigs, and sheep – in San Francisco?
I needn’t have worried about interest in the new trail. I led a second hike the next day, covering the northern half of the trail from Lands End to Forest Hill, that drew more than 30 participants. In tandem, my colleagues in our all-volunteer Crosstown Trail Coalition were leading full-trail hikes, a bike ride, a naturalist-guided hike, and even a run.
Along the way, we came across plenty of folks doing the trail on their own, using the maps and cue sheets we have posted at https://crosstowntrail.org/map/.
“My opening-day hike on the Crosstown Trail is now one of my
all-time favorite San Francisco memories.” “A picture-perfect day – we got to
see parts of the city we had never seen before.” Response to our opening
weekend has been tremendous. Now, all we need to do is organize more hikes and
rides, so that residents and visitors alike can enjoy this new jewel in San
Francisco’s crown of parklands, streetscapes, and public open space. Join us!
Here is just a sampling of Crosstown Trail opening-weekend
Two of the highlights of the Crosstown Trail are the Visitacion Valley Greenway and the Green Hairstreak Butterfly Corridor.
Have you seen them? Want to help out? This Saturday is a great time to do so:
The Visitacion Valley Greenway will hold its monthly third Saturday garden project, 10AM – 1PM. Meet at the Community Garden (near 141 Arleta Avenue). Contact Fran Martin if interested.
Nature in the City works on the Green Hairstreak corridor every third Saturday of the month, in addition to other projects at places such as the Alemany Farm adjacent to the trail. Calendar and details.
The Crosstown Trail crosses the Laguna Honda Community Trail System. Join the SF Urban Riders monthly trail work party to improve the trail. 9AM Saturday 6/8 (and 7/13, etc.) at the container near the top of Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center.
We still have a few commemorative Crosstown Trail T-shirts! Buying a T-shirt is one way you can support the new trail. Please drop us a message (email crosstowntrail@gmail) if you would like a shirt — treat yourself or make it a gift .
The Crosstown Trail is easily accessible from public transit at multiple points. Each cue sheet describes the transit available at each section.
The start of the trail at Sunrise Point in the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is the exception. All other sections start/end at a major transit hub and the trail crosses major transit lines.
Google Maps ‘location’ is the “Sunrise Point Fishing Pier“. Google has the location right but doesn’t have all the trails to get there, so read on for some ways to get to Sunrise Point.
The closest public transit points are a mile to a mile and a half away.
Via Bayshore and Arleta
The best walking route is via Bayshore and Arleta. Take the T-Third, 8, 8AX, 8BX, 9 or 9R to Bayshore and Arleta and Blanken. Head east on Blanken, and follow the instructions on the Cue Sheet for “Section 1 Hike South: Glen Park BART Station to Sunrise Point” from the T-Third Arleta stop.
You can also take the 56-Rutland from Blanken and Bayshore to Executive Park, which will take you half a mile closer; ask the driver. This bus runs approximately once every half hour.
Via Bayshore Caltrain
The Caltrain Bayshore stop is on Tunnel Ave. Turn left on Tunnel Ave and walk to Blanken. From there you can walk following the Section 1 Southbound Cue sheet, or hop on the 56 for a few stops.
Via Third and Gilman
The closest transit stop is the 29-Sunset stop at Gilman Park. This is most useful if you are looping back to or from Candlestick Park, as this stop is one of the first the bus makes as it starts at Third, loops out to Gilman Park, then heads towards Baker Beach.
The T-Third stop at Gilman/Paul is also the terminus for bus route 29. To get to Sunrise Point from there, head southeast on Gilman Ave. The road will continue as the Hunters Point Expressway. At the main entrance to Candlestick SRA, enter the park and find a paved trail toward the south. Bear left to reach the water’s edge, then turn right to follow the path around to Sunrise Point.
To shorten the walk, you can take the 29 Sunset “Inbound towards Baker Beach” from Fitzgerald (one block north of Gilman) and Third. Take it to Gilman Park, then disembark, continue southeast on Gilman and follow the instructions above.
The 29 runs every 10-20 minutes from 6AM to midnight.
Returning From Candlestick Park via Transit
The best route is to follow the route of the Crosstown Trail back toward Bayshore and Blanken. The 56 has a stop on Thomas Mellon Way and Executive Park Boulevard which may shorten the walk. To reach Bayshore Caltrain, turn left at Tunnel and Blanken.
Alternately, exit Candlestick Park at the main entrance and turn right on Hunters Point Expressway. You can continue to Gilman Park and pick up the 29, or all the way to Third and pick up the T-Third.
Connecting the Sections with Transit
The 29 crosses the trail in Section 1 at McLaren Park (McLaren and Visitacion), Section 3 at Golden Gate Park (19th and Lincoln), and Section 5 (Baker Beach or 25th Ave. and Clement). You can reach the end of the trail at Lands End by transferring to the 38R-Geary at 25th Ave.
The Crosstown Trail is long enough that you can hike it over two days. On inaugural weekend, start each day near the water’s edge and hike to the center of the city. Or join for one of these two hikes, just some of the options June 1-2.
Hike the NEW SF Crosstown Trail, Candlestick Point to Forest Hill
Meet at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at Sunrise Point in the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. The closest MUNI stop (on the 56 Rutland or 29 Sunset lines) is about a mile away, so plan accordingly. Bring water, snacks, and lunch. The hike is one-way, ending at the Forest Hill MUNI station. We’ll walk along the Visitacion Valley Greenway, McLaren Park, Glen Canyon, and the trail network above Laguna Honda Hospital. The pace will be moderate, with a break or two. Cue sheets provided, or you can download your own. We are likely to reach Forest Hill by mid-afternoon.
Hike the NEW SF Crosstown Trail, Land’s End to Forest Hill (8 mi.)
Meet at 10:00 a.m. Sunday at the Lands End Lookout Visitor Center off Point Lobos Ave. The closest MUNI line is the 38 Geary. Bring water, snacks, and lunch. The hike is one-way, ending at the Forest Hill MUNI station. We’ll walk along the Land’s End Coastal Trail, Lobos Creek Valley Trail, Park Presidio Greenway, Stow Lake, and the tiled stairways of Golden Gate Heights. The pace will be moderate, with a break or two. Cue sheets provided, or you can download your own from crosstowntrail.org. We are likely to reach Forest Hill by mid-afternoon.