About Hikes

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

Hikes indulges my passions for walking and being uncontrollably geeky. I love recording a walk and then looking at it in Google Earth. It's a great way to get context for a walk that isn't always obvious while you're wandering around.

I started the blog with a pretty complex setup. For a hike I'd take my Magellan eXplorist 500 GPS and a point and shoot digital camera (currently the excellent Canon PowerShot SD700 IS). After the hike I'd use a program I knocked up to compile stats from the GPS track log, and GPSBabel to convert the track log to Google Earth KML. Then I'd resize images and write a blog post.

This works well for longer hikes but it's a bit painful for shorter ones. I've got an AT&T Tilt phone which has a pretty decent camera and GPS built in, so over the Christmas holiday this year I wrote a tracking application for the phone. This app is now available as freeware (Catfood Tracker). As well as tracking your location it also generates a KML file and hike statistics at the end of a walk. Perfect. See Golden Gate Park Loop for a hike recorded entirely on the Tilt.

With an easier tracking option available I aim to blog about more hikes in 2009. I've also added an interactive map to the blog, which shows all the posts in Google Maps. This page is generated from the blog RSS feed, with a marker placed on the map at the first track point of each hike.

(Updated September 26, 2010: I've upgraded from the Tilt to an Android phone and so I've started using My Tracks from Google to record shorter hikes. This blog has also moved from Blogger to BlogEngine.NET. I've just written an extension to geotag posts so you'll see a Google Maps link to start of each hike at the bottom of every post (as well as some additional metadata to help locate posts in geo-aware searches).

Golden Gate Park Loop

Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Golden Gate Park loop in Google Earth

This gentle three mile loop is our favorite walk in the Golden Gate Park. Start at JFK and Transverse and walk down JFK to 30th Avenue. Turn right at 30th and then left onto a metaled path before you exit the path. The path takes you to Spreckels Lake.

Turtles

At Spreckels Lake it's turtles all the way down…

Walk halfway round the Lake and then head off behind the bison paddock (over 36th Avenue and then to the right of the restrooms). You'll pass one of two enclosed off-leash dog areas in the park.

Buffalo

Follow the path right round the paddock and then cross JFK at Chain of Lakes Drive. Immediately turn left on a small path that runs behind Middle Lake. This is a quiet area of the path where we've seen skunks and a lone coyote (although fortunately not at the same time). When you hit a T junction turn left and follow the path behind the angling pond and up to the Polo Fields. Keep going and you'll reach Speedway Meadow.

Rudy at Speedway Meadow

Follow the path beside Speedway Meadow back up to JFK and then on to the starting point at Transverse.

(2.80 miles, 1 hour, 6 minutes, average 2.53 mph, view in Google Earth, view in Google Maps)

Hike starts at: 37.770814, -122.48021.

Crissy Field

Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Chrisy Field in Google Earth

Crissy Field, part of the Golden Gate National Parks, is a recently restored stretch of beach and parkland next to the bay. It's a very popular place to take dogs for a good swim. Currently there is a big debate about dogs in the national parks - see Dog Management at the GGNRA site and SF Dog.

If the weather is vaguely nice then the beaches at Chrissy Field get pretty packed. We go to Fort Funston most weekends, and save Chrissy Field for when the sea is too rough or (like today) when we just can't face climbing back up the sand ladder.

Alcatraz from Chrissy Field

Alcatraz

Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field

Golden Gate Bridge

(0.55 miles, total elevation gain 3 feet, 45 minutes, average 0.72 mph, view in Google Earth, view in Google Maps.)

Hike starts at: 37.806083, -122.450172.

Fort Funston in the rain

Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Fort Funston

(view in Google Earth).

This is the short version of our Fort Funston walk (the long version is here). Depending on the tide and the height of the sand it's sometimes not easy to get past a couple of sewage outlet pipes. Today's walk was wet with a high tide so we turned left at the bottom of the sand ladder and just walked along the beach and back. The longer version is to turn right and complete a three mile loop.

Rudy

Rob and Rudy

Hike starts at: 37.714211, -122.502257383333.

Glen Park Canyon

Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Glen Canyon Park Hike

Glen Park Canyon is a short city hike — the trail gets increasingly dense as you walk into the canyon until you need to limbo your way under branches.

(1.51 miles, total elevation gain 909 feet, 47 minutes (average 1.92 mph), view in Google Earth)

Hike starts at: 37.737133, -122.442133.

Sunol Wilderness

Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Sunol Wilderness Hike

Really Hot!

(4.81 miles, total elevation gain 1,791 feet, 3 hours 30 minutes (average 1.37 mph), view in Google Earth)

Hike starts at: 37.510183, -121.8284.

Bon Tempe Lake

Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Bon Tempe Lake Hike

(3.98 miles, total elevation gain 1,306 feet, 1 hour 40 minutes (average 2.39 mph), view in Google Earth)

Hike starts at: 37.958717, -122.6088.

Fallen Leaf Lake

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

A quick outing to Fallen Leaf Lake (close to Lake Tahoe) while skiing over the New Year.

(3.97 miles, total elevation gain 738 feet, 1 hour 36 minutes (average 2.49 mph), view in Google Earth)

Hike starts at: 38.905, -120.022733.

Oakland Hills (Longer Walk)

Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Oakland Hills Longer Hike

Longer walk in the Oakland Hills, up the East ridge and then back down the West ridge.

Rudy and Gill

(8.63 miles, total elevation gain 3,976 feet, 3 hours 1 minutes (average 2.86 mph), view in Google Earth)

Hike starts at: 37.806533, -122.148783.

Fort Funston

Updated on Saturday, July 18, 2020

Fort Funston Hike

Fort Funston was part of San Francisco's WWII era coastal defenses and is now a dog friendly part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Sand Ladder at Fort Funston

Rudy pegs it down Sand Ladder Trail - the easiest way down to the beach but no so much fun on the way back up.

Battery Davis at Fort Funston

Battery Davis.

Rudy at Fort Funston

(2.62 miles, total elevation gain 417 feet, 1 hour 25 minutes (average 1.84 mph), view in Google Earth)

Hike starts at: 37.714383, -122.502167.