For a hike that’ll transport you back in time — and to a place with legendary panoramas — head to the Peninsula’s Sweeney Ridge. In 1769, Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolá trudged over this hilly range and discovered the San Francisco Bay.
Today there are several well-trodden ways to hike up to Sweeney Ridge, but the 5-mile (roundtrip) trail from Pacifica's Shelldance Orchid Nursery treats with non-stop ocean views.
Sweeney Ridge is a hilly hiking area of ridges and ravines between San Bruno and Pacifica, about a 25-minute drive south from San Francisco. The ridge’s 1,200-foot-high summit, covered with coastal scrub and grassland, slopes down to the bay on one side and to the Pacific on the other. The entrance to the beach is just south of Fort Funston. Park on Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) at the gate across from John Daly Boulevard.