Dog hiking Mount Davidson - Sharon Hahn Darlin (CC)
Everyone who comes to San Francisco catches a glimpse of the deep green hill topped by a 103-foot-cross that serves as a kind of subliminal city landmark. But while many seek out the views at neighboring Twin Peaks, relatively few bother to find their way to the top of Mount Davidson, whose 938-foot summit is the highest point in a city said to be built on 44 hills.
The very top of the hill is privately owned, but the surrounding 38 acres comprise a woodsy public park laced with a web of trails. The views are predictably amazing on bluebird days, but there's also something to be said for the eerie experience of walking through a eucalyptus forest in the gauze of a foggy day. Visitors with aerobic inclinations can Stairmaster their way up and down the many courses of stone and wooden steps to be found in the vicinity. Buddy will have to remain on a leash, but you'll both be invigorated by your visit to this urban aerie.
Mount Davidson is one of many viewpoints to be accessed by the staircases, some of them a century old, that climb San Francisco’s hills. Other urban-hiker favorites include the Filbert and Greenwich Street steps leading to iconic Coit Tower; the colorfully tiled 16th Avenue Steps; and the pair of staircases accessing Grandview Park in the Sunset District, a hilltop spot great for—what else?—sunset-watching!
For details on these and other dog-friendly (and aerobic) walks in San Francisco, check out Stairway Walks in San Francisco, a guidebook by Adah Bakalinsky.