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5 Outdoor San Francisco Spots to Get Your Workout On

The City (and one outlier) has fantastic spaces to get you out of the gym and into the world. Take your run off the treadmill and to the streets. San Francisco's hills are perfect for toning your tush and featutres plenty of parks and sweeping views worth the sweat.

Land's End

Land's End Park
El Camino Del Mar
San Francisco, CA 94121
Lands End

You may think of Land's End as a leisurely spot for tourists to come take in sweeping views of the Pacific. But it's also a fabulous place to kick it into second gear and get a real work out in. Once past the initial wide, well maintained path, the terrain varies greatly. There are narrow dirt paths and slopes where you need to watch your footing. And the stairs. Oh the stairs! They wind up the side of a hill and just when you think you're done, you discover about twenty more. Steps also go down the other side of the hill, so both directions of this 3 mile-ish roundtrip journey include a work out guaranteed to tone your backside. I prefer this spot during the week when it is less crowded but any day it can be fairly isolated. You will feel as if you are miles from the city while still, I promise, very much in it. Also: it is dog friendly so feel free to bring your pet with you.
16th Avenue Tiled Steps
1700 16th Ave
(between Moraga St & Noriega St)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Tiled Steps

A huge fan of step work outs, find this hidden gem in the Inner Sunset of 163 beautifully tiled steps. Work those glutes! Entertain your eyes! Climb even more steps to get to Grand View Park and take in a sweeping view of the city. (Is there ever not a sweeping view of the city somewhere near by?) Up and down these a couple times and you will be ready to take on just about anything.


Glen Canyon Park/O'Shaughnessy Boulevard
Bosworth St & Elk St
San Francisco, CA 94131
Glen Canyon Park on Yelp

At the end of Chenery Street, mere blocks from the busy Glen Park BART station, beyond the softball diamond, is a hidden gem of a park deep in a canyon. That feeling of being miles from the city while still very much in it is present here. Take a jog through this area, challenge yourself up rock outcroppings and try not to get too distracted by the abundant nature that surrounds you. This place is best enjoyed at sunset on sunny days when the light plays with the colors of the rocks.
If you're up for a little bit more of a challenge, stay on the streets and take the path that runs along O'Shaughnessy Drive. As it rims the canyon that encloses the park, it is a definite uphill challenge of a trail. At about 3 miles round trip,

golden gate park dance

Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park

You're probably rolling your eyes right now. "Well of course, Golden Gate Park!" But how many of us living here ever think to challenge ourselves with a run from Beach Chalet up around the Academy of Sciences and back down? The abundance of paths and ways to get from point A to point B make Golden Gate Park a never-ending area of exploration. Take a detour from the main routes up and around Stowe Lake, for some variation on the regular road running, or through the Botanical Gardens. The possibilities are seemingly endless. Get out there and explore your own backyard with a jog through the biggest park in the city. And hey, if you get tired of running, you can always head to one of the park adjacent restaurants for some refreshments.

sawyer camp trail

Sawyer Camp Trail at Crystal Springs
San Mateo County
Sawyer Camp Trail

When the persistent summer fog of San Francisco gets to you and you're jonesing for a Vitamin D fix, head south on 280 to San Mateo's Sawyer Camp Trail. There is currently some heavy construction going on to the bridge that made access easy to the trail, but don't let that deter you; a clear detour to other entrances has been marked. A gorgeous six mile trail that winds around the reservoir, this place is great for a jog. The mile markers make sure you always know how far you've gone, giving you that mental edge to push just a little bit further. A gentle, sloping, well maintained path with the right amount of shade and open spaces to wear a tank top and grab a few rays, Sawyer Camp is a favorite among walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. Be sure to bring your own water bottle, as stops are sparse. Dogs are forbidden so your furry friend has to stay home on this one.

-Lisa Tennenbaum

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