The hiking book: Excellently detailed blog post by a local named Bill Choisser
The distance: 3 miles + a bit to get ice cream
The CityGirls rating: 4

It was an exploring San Francisco sort of weekend for T-Bell. Went to check out the views from Twin Peaks, the highest viewpoint in the city.

Now, the typical way to do Twin Peaks is to drive up to very nearly the top, then meander a bit around the figure eight that encircles each of the Peaks. But I found a blog post from a long-time San Franciscan with directions to walk all the way up to the top from the Muni station at Castro and Market.

It was warm and sunny on my way up the hill, with a few scudding clouds flying by overhead. Up and up I trekked, with the views of the city more sweeping each time I turned around to look.

It was a short but steep climb up through the neighborhood streets.

This building is six stories tall, but has no internal stairs. Each level is accessed by the gated walkways that come out onto these stairs. In fact, these stairs are actually a block of Douglass Street, though it’s a pedestrian only block, of course.
There were lots of stairs cutting up from one street to the next.
After those stairs… more stairs.

It was definitely a climb, but rewarded with lovely views at the top.

The whole city stretched out below me!

But as soon as I got up to the top, the clouds started to settle in right over the Peaks. So much for the clear sunny day.

After hiking back down to Castro, I was contemplating the best way to get back home and realized I was only a few blocks from Dolores Park and, more importantly, Bi-Rite ice cream!

I had some lovely soft serve in the park, reading in the sun while waiting for the Muni light rail.

Time: 1.5 hours.
Ease of following designated hike: 8. Super detailed description of where to turn and what streets and paths to take. Did miss a couple turns, though, because they got lost in all the details.
Solitude: 4. Surprising lack of people on the streets leading up to Twin Peaks, lots of people at the Peaks themselves.