SF Hike – All of Sloat, all of Portola and all of Market

This hike starts at Sloat and the Great Highway.  I used the L metro to get there.   I walked all of Sloat to Portola, all of Portola to Market (quite a climb) and finally all of Market.  My GPS cut out, so the map and statistics are not exactly complete, but capture about 90% of the hike.

The statistics:

  • 9.1 miles (14.67m)
  • total time including time to take photos: 3:44
  • total ‘moving’ time: 3:16
  • change in elevation (max – min): 601 feet


More to come

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SF Hike – All of Pine and Bush

This hike started at the foot of Pine Street in the Financial District of San Francisco, proceeded to the western end of Pine and returns to the Financial District on Bush Street.

The statistics:

  • 9.5 miles (15.25m)
  • total time including time to take photos: 4.08
  • total ‘moving’ time: 3:26
  • change in elevation (max – min): 379 feet


More to come

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SF Hikes: SF Zoo to 3rd and Market, including all of Judah and Haight

I hiked from the San Francisco Zoo to  the downtown intersection of 3rd Street and Market Street.  During this hike, I hike all of two streets:  Judah and Haight Street.

The logistics of this hike: I took a bus to downtown and then took the metro (L line) to the San Francisco Zoo.  From there, I walked north on the Great Highway, east on Judah, east on Haight and northeast on Market Street.  From there, I took a bus to Washington Square and headed home.

The statistics:

  • 9.3 miles (14.94km)
  • total time including time to take photos: 3:30
  • total ‘moving’ time: 3:17
  • change in elevation (max – min): 400 feet


More to come.

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SF Hikes: Van Ness – all of it + Precita Park and Aquatic Park

Two Saturday’s ago, I hiked all of Van Ness (Van Ness and South Van Ness) in San Francisco.

The logistics of this hike:  I took a bus to downtown and then BART to the 24th Street station.  From there, I walked north on Mission, turned left (east) onto Cesar Chavez and then right (north) on Folsom where I encountered Precitia Park.  After spending time in the park, I returned to Cesar Chavez, turned left and then right onto South Van Ness.  I then walked the entire length of South Van Ness, Van Ness, ending in Aquatic Park.  From there I walked to Washington Square Park.

The statistics:

  • 7.2 miles (11.64km),
  • total time including time to take photos: 3:26
  • total ‘moving’ time: 2:56
  • change in elevation (max – min): 310 feet


Most of this urban hike was on Van Ness Avenue and South Van Ness Avenue.  Van Ness is the name used north of Market Street.   It is named for James Van Ness, San Francisco’s seventh mayor.

Here are some photos from the hike, beginning with Precita Park:

There are many pre-1906-earthquake structures on South Van Ness Avenue.  Those who can afford it tend to restore them:

As in most neighborhoods, but especially the Mission District, there are brightly painted murals everywhere:

There are lots of interesting businesses:

Grand old buildings in civic center and grand old cars in a private collection:

And some photos from the end of the walk at the North San Francisco waterfront:

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Urban Hike – San Francisco Eastern Waterfront – most of it

Last Saturday, I hiked most of the San Francisco eastern waterfront, a total of 7.9 miles (12.79km).  To start the hike from downtown, I took the Muni Metro T line to 3rd and Evans.  As you can see on the map, from there I walked north on 3rd Street for 6 blocks, turned right and then proceeded north on Illinois Street, continuing north and then east on Terry A. Francois Boulevard, passing by AT&T (San Francisco Giants) Park, crossing the Lefty O’Doul bridge and continuing around the waterfront on the scenic Embarcadero, winding my way back to Washington Square in North Beach.



Most of the southern part of this hike was through industrial areas, that had a few little parks sprinkled between them. The first park I encountered Islais Creek Park, just a few blocks from the beginning of my walk. Now it is mostly a culvert, and I had the place to myself. There is an interesting draw bridge that I crossed to continue north from the park.

Crossing the bridge and moving to Illinois Street had me passing through industrial areas – some abandoned, some fully occupied. There are several automobile-related businesses, car parts, auto dismantlers, and detail shops.

Again moving north, I encountered a lot of interesting stuff: Abandoned warehouses and factories, power plants, a Municipal Railway yard and a few odd retail businesses. Interestingly, among the urban decay were two small parks that appeared to be used a lot.

Continuing north, I came upon Agua Vista Park, the Port of San Francisco buildings,  AT&T Park and the Lefty O’Doul bridge.

And the last leg of my hike was along the scenic Embarcadero.  It is a beautiful stroll, with a mix of businesses, the Ferry Building marketplace, and a lot of tourists.  I was a great way to end the hike.

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Urban Hike – Mission Street San Francisco (all of it)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis week had me hiking the entire length of Mission Street in San Francisco.   Starting from the BART (train) station in Daly City, we walked on John Daly Blvd to “Top of the Hill” and from there we turned left onto Mission Street, entering San Francisco in a few blocks. (Note:  Clicking on any photo will enlarge it)

About Mission Street (From Wiki):  “Mission Street is a north-south arterial thoroughfare in San Francisco that runs from the city’s southern border to its northeast corner. The street and the Mission District through which it runs were named for the Spanish Mission Dolores, several blocks away from the modern route.  At 7.2 mi (11.6 km), it is the city’s longest, and one of its oldest streets.”

urban-hike-mission--4-27-13In San Francisco, from the south, Mission Street starts in Daly City and  continues north through several neighborhoods, including Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, Bernal Heights, Outer Mission, Inner Mission, and downtown, and then turns northeast and travels through the South of Market neighborhood before ending at the Embarcadero” which is the boulevard that runs along the Bay.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe southern half of Mission Street is part of El Camino Real, which connected the missions in California. More about El Camino Real here.

As usual, we made a side-trip:  24th Street and Balmy Alley.  More about that here, but with the meandering and side trips, our hike totaled 11.01 miles (17.5km).   I have to admit that it was a long hike and one that had so many sensory delights that I feel like I need to be in an isolation chamber for a week to recuperate.  I was planning to get a bit poetic with these blog posts, but that will have to wait for another time.

A friend joined me on this hike. As I wrote above, we took the train (BART) from downtown San Francisco to Daly City and began our hike there.  From the BART station we walked to Mission Blvd and then walked 68 or so blocks to the end of Mission Street.  Mission Street is culturally diverse, but there are pockets of immigrant groups in various neighborhoods.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In Daly City, a city of about 100,000 population, Filipinos are the majority in the Asian population along with Vietnamese, Chinese, Burmese and others. Among the  Latino population the majority are Mexican and Salvadorian.  Mission Street in Daly City is filled with salons,  nail parlors,  restaurants and Filipino groceries.

Continuing along Mission Street and entering San Francisco, the flavor of the neighborhood changes from strongly Filipino to more of a mix of Asian cultures and we begin to see Salvadorian establishments.  We did find a fish sauce store, but it seems to be long closed.


In the outer Mission, there are almost as many storefront churches as there are nail parlors and ‘beauty salons.’  There are many colorful houses, business and signs, and the smells of the many bakeries and restaurants made it difficult to continue with the walk – I wanted to stop and sample the foods at least once on each block.

We saw many interesting places and I shot so many photos that the all can’t fit here.  I was surprised to find out that the Excelsior neighborhood was primarily an Italian, Irish and Swiss community.   There are still Italians living there.  Initially, it was a community of Ligurian farmers.  But after the 1906 earthquake, many Italians moved there, including many from Cosenza (Calabria) Italy.

There are bright colors everywhere you look and yet it is visually pleasing and very tranquil:

We made a side trip on 24th Street, which is even more colorful than Mission Street. Connecting with 24th Street there is Balmy Alley, which is known for the fantastic murals painted on the sides of buildings:

Of course, all along Mission Street there are many bars, clubs and liquor stores.   Here is a sampling:

And there are a lot of bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores too:

There are other businesses as well:

And finally, we finished at the foot of Mission Street, at the Embarcadero.  It was a wonderful urban hike.  I will do it again, sometime soon.   –Gary

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Urban Hike – San Francisco – Geary Blvd (all of it)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother Saturday, another urban hike.  I’ve decided to attempt to walk all of the major streets in San Francisco.  This last hike was all of Geary Blvd, starting at 48th Avenue (where San Francisco meets the Pacific Ocean) and walking the entire length to Lotta’s Fountain, where Geary and Kearny terminate into Market Street.

According to Wikipedia, Geary Blvd is a “major east-west thoroughfare in San Francisco. It is a major commercial artery…that is lined with stores and restaurants, many of them catering to the various immigrant groups (Chinese, Russian, [Korean, Polish, Jewish] and Irish, among many others) who live in the area. The boulevard borders Japantown between Fillmore and Laguna Streets.  The roadway is named for John W. Geary, the first mayor of San Francisco after California became a U.S. state.  It began life as a dirt carriage track out to the Cliff House and Ocean Beach and for a time a flat track paralleled the road where horsemen raced their mounts on Sundays.”

If one only walks Geary Blvd, which is from point A to point B on the map below, it is 5.8 miles (9.33km).  My walk had me wandering some and including my walk home from the end of Geary (point B to point C), I totaled 8.4 miles (13.5km).


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat makes this walk easy is from downtown San Francisco, one can get to the end of Geary on the very-frequent #38 Geary bus.  Riding the bus in San Francisco guarantees that you will find something different.  On my morning trip, this woman was sitting a few rows in front of me, busily tending her makeup routine.

Geary Blvd spans many neighborhoods, but there are 4 major neighborhoods, moving east to west:  The Richmond, the Western Addition, the Tenderloin and Union Square.   Getting off the bus on 48th Avenue and walking around the corner, one encounters a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and the ‘wilderness’ of Land’s End.  And then there are the gorgeous poppies.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Heading east on Geary, it almost feels like another city  or the suburbs.  It is nice as there is a lot of light and air, not a lot of noise and homes are all low-rise.  Some are painted  with bright colors. It could be because it is often foggy in this area and there are entire summers without direct sunlight.

Continuing east, one arrives at a business district, full of groceries stores, bars, churches and other retail venues.  This section of Geary is a true “melting pot”, having once been predominantly Irish, but now having immigrants from Russia, China, Korea, Poland, Japan and Mexico.

Starting in the Richmond district, there are many churches on Geary:


Our Lady
(Geary and



Right photo:
Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Catholic Church
(Geary and 23rd Avenue)
 Left photo:
Star of the Sea Church (Geary and 8th Avenue).




There are also a lot of bars – here is a sampling of some of them:




Of course, it’s not all sinners and saints





Continuing out of the Richmond District we encounter Japantown, St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church:



Now we descend into the Tenderloin and Union Square:


Finally, I arrive at the end of Geary and not a minute too soon. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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