Opening weekend draws more than 200 hikers and cyclists

Karen Rhodes | June 19, 2019

The Visitacion Valley Greenway | Karen Rhodes photo

“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?

Virginia Leishman Farm & Garden | Pat Koren photo

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 media coverage:

SF’s new 17-mile trail offers look at rarely seen areas (San Francisco Chronicle)

The Most Scenic Spots on San Francisco’s New 17-Mile Crosstown Trail (AFAR)

New 17-Mile ‘San Francisco Crosstown Trail’ Connects City’s Parks, Hiking Trails, and Little-Known Outdoor Gems (SFist)

Trekking SF’s new Crosstown Trail this weekend? We rounded up tips from people who have done it (SFGate)

Improve the Crosstown Trail (3rd Saturday)

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:

Visitacion Valley Greenway
Visitacion Valley Greenway

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.

Rocky Outcrop in the Green Hairstreak Corridor

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.

Commemorative T-Shirts

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 .

Celebrate the Opening of the San Francisco Crosstown Trail on National Trails Weekend (June 1 and June 2)

National Trails Weekend is the first weekend in June, and you can celebrate by being among the first to traverse all or part of the new 17-mile San Francisco Crosstown Trail (SFCT).

The SFCT runs diagonally across San Francisco from the edge of the San Francisco Bay in Candlestick Point State Recreation Area to the Pacific Ocean at Lands End in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The Crosstown Trail was included in the Recreation and Open Space Element of the SF General Plan, and was adopted by the San Francisco Planning Department in 2014. In 2018, volunteers from a number of non-profits and local advocacy groups joined forces to formally establish the route for the SFCT, and to develop maps and cue sheets for each of the five Crosstown Trail sections.

Connecting neighborhoods, open spaces, and major San Francisco trails, The San Francisco Crosstown Trail is now open for both pedestrians and bicyclists to enjoy, Furthermore, each of the route’s five sections start and end near a major public transit stop, so the SFCT can be accessed car-free.

You are invited to celebrate the trail’s opening in the following ways:

  • Join a hike or bike trek being led by members of the SF Crosstown Trail Coalition on June 1-2, 2019 to celebrate the trail’s inaugural weekend. Events range from traversing the full route in both the northwest and southeast directions, to shorter jaunts on just one or two of the sections.
  • Plan your own outing on the SFCT for your organization, your family, or your friends to discover the city’s newest trail on your own.

Materials about the SFCT, including the list of opening events, downloadable and printable maps, and cue sheets, are posted at crosstowntrail.org.