Twin Peaks

Go up to the top of this lofty peak on a clear day for unparalleled aerial views of San Francisco’s most recognizable landmarks.

Towering over the city, Twin Peaks is the tallest natural feature in town. Follow trails up to the twin-peaked summit or drive up the winding road to the top to marvel at the panoramic views over San Francisco from a height of over 920 feet (280 meters).

Climb either of the peaks of this hill to admire fabulous views out over San Francisco. As you make your way up, watch for local wildlife such as raccoons and the rare mission blue butterfly. The hill is mostly undeveloped, except for the presence of several transmission towers and a large reservoir that helps provide drinking and service water for the city’s residences.

Find a lookout point surrounded by stone railings near the summit parking lot. From here, try to identify various city landmarks including the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges, Alcatraz Island and Market Street. Put coins in the viewers to see the landmarks through telescopic lenses.

Follow the trail between the north and south peaks. The figure-eight path around both peaks is only about 0.5 miles (1 kilometer) long but does feature some ascents and descents.

Be aware that it is generally windy and often chilly at the top of Twin Peaks, so dress appropriately. Make sure you go on a clear day. When the notorious San Francisco fog rolls in, the view from the top of Twin Peaks is almost totally obscured. On certain days when the fog is low-lying, the peaks themselves remain clear, meaning sightseers atop the peak can observe the fog from above as it rolls in and clouds over the city.

For a bit of exercise, hike from the city up the hillside. It is also possible to drive close to the top of Twin Peaks. A parking lot is located at the top although spaces fill quickly. Be prepared to wait a few minutes for an opening. Alternatively, join a guided bus tour of the city; many operators include a stop at Twin Peaks.