Karen Rhodes | June 19, 2019
“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://preview.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: