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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.
The Crosstown Trail’s southern terminus is at the Sunrise Point fishing pier inside Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. This little-known park is worth exploring. If you’re willing to take a slight detour, you can visit the Endangered Garden, a concrete promenade created by public artist Patricia Johanson that pays tribute to the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake. The promenade continues along the shoreline to the Sunnydale water treatment plant. It’s worth the trip to check out the art and the view.
Following the main Crosstown Trail, you’ll safely cross Harney Way at a crosswalk. (Going north, this is how you leave the park; going south, this is how you enter the park.) But you’ll miss the Endangered Garden, a few yards west of the crosswalk. Feel free to explore it, but please do not attempt to cross Harney Way here. Return to that crosswalk to the east!
The alternative route below shows you how you can find the Endangered Garden, walking along the shoreline instead of the road, and return to the crosswalk.
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.
On Sunday, June 2, I will be hiking the entire distance of the SF Crosstown Trail and I invite others to join me. Join me at the Coastal Trailhead in the Northwest corner of the Lands End visitor center’s parking lot at 8:00AM. Bring water, lunch, and snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day.
Given the length of the trail (~18 miles total!) we need to start our hike early, but the 38 runs regularly 24/7, so the early start time should be feasible!
The hike will end at Sunrise Point in Candlestick park.
My plan is to go at a moderate rate, and take a coffee/water/bathroom break break or two to make the hike fun and relaxing.
You can start with me, but as long as you are prepared with your own digital map or paper map and cue sheet that you’ve downloaded from the maps page or Outerspatial, you can go at your own pace. Since the trail intersects with several major transit hubs, and runs exclusively through San Francisco, there is also ample opportunity to call it a day and head home whenever you feel tired via public transit (or ride hailing if you prefer).
About half way through our hike we will aim to meet and have lunch with hikers who began at Sunrise Point and are heading to Lands End. My estimate is that those who go the distance will reach Sunrise Point in the late afternoon.
The Crosstown Trail is a new route across San Francisco. Be one of the first to bike across it! See parts of the city you probably have not seen before.
We’ll start at the southeasternmost corner of the city, in Candlestick State Recreation Area at 10AM. Then ride across San Francisco: You’l see Candlestick, Visitaction Valley (including the Vis Valley Greenway), McLaren Park, St Mary’s Park, the Glen Park neighborhood, Laguna Honda Community Trails, Golden Gate Heights, and more. Ride ends at Lands End.
This is true “mixed terrain”–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.
Distance is about 17 miles and just over 2000′ of elevation gained.
Bring a water bottle and snacks, there will be breaks but no designated food stops. We hope to meet the hiking groups for lunch. Social pace.