12 Bay Area Brunch Hikes

One of the best parts about hiking is sitting down and enjoying a meal afterward. And weekend brunch is especially fun—something to look forward to and to savor the weekend with family and friends. In that spirit, here are 12 Bay Area hikes with nearby brunch ideas, as well as an indulgence or two for when you’ve really earned it …

Brunch Hikes in the North Bay

Ring Mountain Preserve, Corte Madera

High on the Tiburon Peninsula, the 3.6-mile Ring Mountain Preserve Loop is chock-full of 360-degree views, wildflowers, unique geology, and history. Look for the rare Tiburon Mariposa Lily blooming in late spring, and visit the waterfront in downtown Tiburon to make it a day trip. (No entrance fee, leashed dogs are allowed, parks.marincounty.org

Salt & Pepper restaurant, six miles south of Ring Mountain in downtown Tiburon, serves American fare such as omelets and specialty plates such as breakfast quesadillas. Frankie & Jo’s, four miles north of Ring Mountain in Larkspur, offers delicious gluten-free, plant-based ice cream with flavors like Chocolate Tahini Supercookie.

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, Calistoga

Mount Saint Helena, eight miles north of downtown Calistoga, is one of the tallest peaks in the Mayacamas Mountains, the range dividing Sonoma Valley to the west and Napa Valley to the east. This moderately challenging 10.4-mile hike takes you up to the summit with sprawling views of Napa Valley and Bay Area mountains. (No entrance fee, dogs are not allowed, parks.ca.gov)

Lovina, in downtown Calistoga, offers weekend brunch with Model Bakery English muffins, breakfast burritos, and lunch options like salads and BLTs. Nearby, Sam’s General Store is a quick grab-and-go option for coffee, tea, and espresso drinks, as well as breakfast sandwiches and salads. 

Brunch Hikes in San Francisco

Presidio, San Francisco

The Presidio, a former military post in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, has incredible ocean-side scenery and compelling history. This 5.8–mile Presidio Loop visits the highlights—historic sites, sculptures, and coastal trails—and even ducks under the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio Visitor Center and Golden Gate Welcome Center are great stops along the way for gifts, postcards, and souvenirs. (No entrance fee, leashed dogs are allowed on trails, presidio.gov

Dalida is an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in the Presidio’s Main Post, 0.2 miles southwest of the Presidio Visitor Center. Their weekend brunch features egg dishes, seafood, lunch fare, and vegetarian options such as Breaking Bread, an assortment of Mediterranean dips and condiments with fluffy pita.

Presidio, San Francisco

The 2.8-mile Presidio Art Hike visits four art installations by British artist Andy Goldsworthy, each with a natural element from the Presidio such as eucalyptus branches and cypress tree trunks. The loop begins at the Presidio Officers’ Club, climbs to Inspiration Point, and then circles counter-clockwise to Lovers’ Lane. Add on a side trip to the Tunnel Tops and Yoda Fountain for more Presidio-unique sights. (No entrance fee, leashed dogs are allowed on trails, presidio.gov)

Sessions at the Presidio is a casual yet refined restaurant by the Lucasfilm headquarters, 0.6 miles east of the Presidio Visitor Center. The California-American restaurant offers weekend brunch with hearty comfort food like scrambled eggs, frittatas, and waffles as well as seafood, entree salads, and meaty sandwiches.

Brunch Hikes in the Peninsula & South Bay

Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve, Redwood City

The 4.2-mile Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve Loop has lovely spring wildflowers, green-carpeted woodlands, and mountain vistas. This loop takes you on a tour through the highlights of the 467-acre preserve, heading into its famous southwestern grasslands and up to a high point with San Francisco Bay vistas. (No parking fee, dogs are not allowed, smcgov.org/parks)

Town, 3.5 miles northeast of Edgewood in San Carlos, is an American restaurant with indoor and outdoor patio seating. Weekend brunch features crowd pleasers like eggs benedict, bread-pudding french toast, steak, and smash burgers.

Huddart Park, Woodside

The Dean-Crystal Springs Loop is a partly shady 5.1-mile hike near downtown Woodside. The loop offers a quiet, redwood forest hike on the peninsula with spring wildflowers, creeks, and connector trails leading up to Skyline Boulevard. Huddart, along with Wunderlich Park a few miles away, are the two San Mateo County Parks in Woodside. Huddart is considered the quieter of the two. ($6 entrance fee, dogs are not allowed, smcgov.org/parks)

Village Bakery & Cafe is a bustling Woodside restaurant with a sister bakery next door. Brunch options include cinnamon rolls, egg dishes, salads, burgers, and breakfast sandwiches. The bakery next door serves coffee, tea, and espresso drinks along with cookies, muffins, doughnuts, and sandwiches. The restaurant has indoor and patio seating. The bakery has limited indoor countertop seating and a few outdoor tables. Allow extra time for parking; the restaurant and bakery parking lot gets busy.

Sam McDonald Park, Loma Mar

Deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 5.2-mile Hiker’s Hut Loop features shade, creeks, redwoods, and overnight camping at the Hiker’s Hut. This loop begins at the small Alpine Road parking lot, and then winds through an old-growth grove and up a moderately steep ridge to the Hiker’s Hut. After a break on the hut’s deck, the route loops past a horse camp and then returns to the ancient redwoods. Alternatively, start from the main parking lot, with more parking, facilities, and a $6 fee. (free parking in Alpine Road lot, $6 entrance fee in main parking lot, dogs are not allowed, smcgov.org/parks

Loma Mar Store & Kitchen, five miles southwest of Sam McDonald Park, serves coffee, tea, and espresso drinks along with homestyle breakfasts, sandwiches, bowls, and baked goods. Check their website for live music events. Pair it with a visit to family-friendly Harley Farms Goat Dairy, six miles west of the cafe in Pescadero. Say hi to the goats and purchase cheese and specialty items from their on-site shop.

Sierra Azul Preserve, Los Gatos

Mount Umunhum is an excellent Sunday hike: not too far a drive from Silicon Valley, with panoramic valley vistas and a well-graded, partly shady ascent. Start the 7.5-mile round-trip hike at the Bald Mountain parking lot. Or, if the lot is full, no problem; head up to the summit for more parking and a top-down, inverted hike. Add on mileage with connector trails to Almaden Quicksilver and Lexington Reservoir. (No entrance fee, dogs are not allowed, openspace.org

Nearby Lelé cake in East Los Gatos is a cozy, plant-filled cafe offering coffee, tea, espresso, and specialty drinks like matcha and ube lattes. Breakfast and lunch entrees include light dishes like avocado toast, gruyere waffles, grain bowls, and syrniki, small cheese pancakes with berries. Top it off with a sweet selection from the cafe’s pastry case.

Brunch Hikes in the East Bay

Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont

The 3.2-mile Quail and Bay View Trail Loop, north of the Dumbarton Bridge, has beautiful vistas of elongated salt ponds in the San Francisco Bay as well as a bottom-up view of the Diablo Range and Mission Peak. The loop is paved with gentle ups and downs, and blooming spring wildflowers. Extend the hike up to Red Hill for sprawling vistas of the Santa Cruz Mountains. ($5 parking fee, leashed dogs are allowed, ebparks.org)

Fresh Donuts & Bagel, three miles northeast of Coyote Hills in Fremont, is a cash-only hole in the wall with YUM croissant breakfast sandwiches and sugary donut holes. It’s not technically brunch but a guilty breakfast pleasure…

Mount Diablo State Park, Walnut Creek

The 10.3-mile Mount Diablo Grand Loop tags Eagle Peak, North Peak, and Mount Diablo on an undulating route that begins high up the mountain at Juniper Campground, elevation 2900 feet. The loop also visits the Summit Visitor Center and Observation Deck for outstanding vistas of Mount Diablo State Park, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and Sierra Nevada. ($10 vehicle entrance fee, dogs are not allowed on trails, parks.ca.gov)

Montesacro, northwest of Mount Diablo State Park in downtown Walnut Creek, is a cozy Italian restaurant that specializes in pinsa — a kind of oval-shaped hand-pressed pizza. Their weekend brunch features hearty egg dishes, french toast, vegetarian antipasti, pasta, and of course, pinsa.

Brunch Hikes on the Central Coast

Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

The 2.0-mile Natural Bridges Loop, three miles west of downtown Santa Cruz, loops through a Monarch Preserve and tide pools along the coast. Time your hike with low tide to see green anemones, scampering crabs, clinging mussels, and purple sea stars. Monarch season generally runs mid-October through mid-February. ($10 vehicle fee, dogs are not allowed on beach and trails, parks.ca.gov

Cat and Cloud, a mile northeast of Natural Bridges on Swift Street, is a popular and bustling coffee shop offering well-crafted espresso drinks, coffee, tea and light meals like breakfast burritos and avocado toast.

Garrapata State Park, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Garrapata State Park, three miles south of Point Lobos, is a stunning mix of picturesque canyons, coast redwoods, high bluffs, ocean views and the Santa Lucia Mountains. This 5.1-mile hike takes you through the best scenery and up to Whale Peak with outstanding vistas of the Big Sur coast. Drive 2.4 miles south to Calla Lily Valley to see a natural canyon filled with lillies. (No parking fee, dogs are not allowed on this hiking route; leashed dogs are allowed on Garrapata Beach and trails leading to it, parks.ca.gov

Pacific’s Edge, three miles north of Garrapata in the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, is a clifftop restaurant with tall windows overlooking the coast. The California-American restaurant serves brunch dishes such as eggs benedict and hearty sandwiches as well as coffee, tea, and espresso drinks.

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