This week’s Guest Blogger Series welcomes fellow California Mommy Hiker, Melissa Avery of Chasqui Mom! Like me, she is fairly new to the blogging world, but she is surely carving out a niche for herself in the Outdoor world and her kids are reaping the rewards!
Living in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area, I always try to find an excuse to go into the city of San Francisco. Whether to visit family, friends or just a to visit my husband on his lunch break, I’m always willing to visit the “City by the Bay.” A part of me desires to live in “The City”, another part of me loves the suburb life, and another part loves the solitude of “The Outdoors”. I’ve been able to find a happy medium with our “Urban Hikes” in and out of San Francisco area.
My family and I decided to start our Labor Day weekend with a hike up to Grand View Park, which is in the Sunset District of San Francisco, the west side of the city and south of Golden Gate Park. It’s a 1-acre park that has fantastic 360 degree views of San Francisco and beyond, if there’s no fog! We lucked out and arrived on a perfect clear afternoon.
There are two park entrances (no fees), the back steps on 14th Avenue and the famous steps called “The Moraga Steps”. Most of the hike is all up hill on either entrance with The Moraga Steps being the longer hike uphill. My original plan was to hike up The Moraga Steps and watch the sunset but we got a little turned around and found the backs steps on 14th Avenue first. We later visited The Moraga Steps and I was just blown away with the detailing on the steps. I think if we would have hiked up The Moraga Steps it would have taken us twice as long because our toddlers would have wanted to touch each tile.
The kids were itching to get out of the car and “climb the mountain” so we parked, packed our sweaters and jackets and started up the stairs on 14th Avenue. My two year old daughter was determined to walk up the stairs herself so my husband patiently walked up 100 ft of stairs with her, while my son and I raced to the top of the stairs.
My son found enjoyment playing in the little sandy dirt trail that wrapped around the top of Grand View park, while we waited for the rest of the family to make it to the top of the stairs. My daughter was coaxed to make it to the top after my son yelled, “Hurry up there’s sand up here!”. She scrambled to the last step and happily started playing in the sand with her brother, while us parents enjoyed the grand views. My kids don’t like to hike up a hill but if there are a set of stairs in front of them they will surely go up every step themselves!
We still had not made it to the top but we could see almost all of San Francisco’s iconic landmarks: The Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, de Young Museum, Academy of Sciences, Twin Peaks, Downtown and the Marin Headlands. After our little break we circled around on the trail to the top, which in my opinion had better views of the Pacific Ocean then the very top of Grand View Park.
My kids were very excited that they had “climbed the mountain” and they could see the ocean and huge cargo ships going under the Golden Gate Bridge. When we reached the top of the hill, the wind was so strong we knew we weren’t going to be able to stay for another hour and a half to see the sunset. We let our boy climb on the rocks and our daughter happily played in the dirt before we headed down the stairs to find The Moraga Steps.
Our hike up the hill was a little less than half a mile and even if we had gone up The Moraga Steps, this is a very family-friendly 1-mile round trip hike, enjoyable for all. San Francisco is only 47 square miles but you can find lots of family friendly hikes along the Pacific Coast, The Presidio, Golden Gate Park and up the hills. Grand View Park sure does live up to its name and is a great little hike for the family in San Francisco!___________________________________________
About the Author
Melissa Avery is a San Francisco Bay Area wife, stay at home mom and lover of the outdoors. Her blog, Chasqui Mom is about her family adventures loving nature through hiking, backpacking, and anything outdoors.