Address: Clarendon Ave and Johnstone Drive, San Francisco, CA Parking: Free parking on Clarendon Ave; you will have to walk into the Aldea San Miguel (UCSF) housing on Johnstone Drive, walk up the first small hill and take the Fairy Gates Trail to the right. You cannot park in the UCSF property. See map below. Hours: 5 A.M. to Midnight Type: Hike (2 miles, moderate) Regulations: Dogs allowed on-leash Best time to visit: Anytime
Description: Mount Sutro (not to be confused with Sutro Tower) is a 909 ft mountain surrounded by 80 acres of forest that is over 125 years old. It features beautiful trails, but it is not well known. This land was once owned by Adolph Sutro, and you can see the cypress, pine, and eucalyptus tree he planted many years ago. Some of the trees in the forest are over 200 feet tall, so you will soon feel as though you’ve escaped the city. The trails are often foggy, creating a “cloud forest” that reminds me of hiking forests in Marin. The main trail snakes gently uphill, around the mountain through forests and fern-lined trails. There are even some ferns sprouting out of tall eucalyptus trees. There are also some interesting rock formations on the trail, and you can even catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Treasure these views because unfortunately there isn’t much of a view from the peak, unlike Mount Davidson. However, it’s still a beautiful hike and definitely worth checking out.
Hiking directions: I began on the Fairy Gates Trail, and after 1/3 a mile, took the Historic Trail to the left. You will soon have to cross a UCSF road, with a road barrier on the side. The trail continues directly across the road. I did not see any cars on the road during my hike, but still be careful crossing. The Historic Trail snakes around the mountain, and at one mile, take the South Ridge trail to your left, which will take you on a briefly paved trail, and then leads you to the summit. From here I took the North Ridge Trail back down, and once again crossed the road to the Fairy Gates Trail, which led me back to where I started and cuts off about 0.2 miles. You can also head back the way you came. There are a few other trails in the Open Space to explore, and if you are looking for a longer hike, you can start at the Stanyan Trailhead (off of Stanyan St. near 17th St.).
The park has Porta Potties and a hand washing sink at the Fairy Gates Trail entrance.
Unfortunately UCSF is in the process of cutting down thousands of trees on 25 acres. In 2014 they cut down over 200 trees! Please click the link below to SAVE SUTRO FOREST!