Fitness + Outdoors
Ditch the treadmill and track for these five urban trails that wind through the great outdoors.
Trail running doesn’t get any more majestic than this. To avoid the tourists ogling the “Steep Cliff” signs, head to the Lands End Trail in the early morning (be prepared for fog). Enter the trailhead around the Legion of Honor, and run the wide-ish path atop of the windswept coastal cliffs. The run is moderate, save for some blood-pumping staircase action. The views are definitely worth the pain. parksconservancy.org
I'm on a boat! Kayaks and canoes count. Head to these paddling spots for some open-water action.
The hottest trend in yoga? Not paying if you don't want to. Donation-based yoga's been around for a while (check out this April article in the New York Times on the trend) and has swept many Bay Area studios with its come-one-come-all mentality.
Rusty Wells, local yoga-master (he's got a cultish following) and recent Wanderlust Festival instructor, just released the first of a video series explaining the ethos behind his donation-based Urban Flow Yoga studio.
With all the "it's like being one with the ocean" talk, it's somehow a disconnect to view surfing as harmful to the environment. But the petrochemicals used in the foam of many boards can be nasty stuff. California Home+Design takes a look this month at San Francisco's Hess Surfboards and their mission to build better, cleaner and longer lasting boards.
Mission-based Alite Designs is trying to bring the sexy back to camping, and has a few tricks up its sleeve to do so.
Creative Director Tae Kim, a former North Face design director, is determined to get city-dwelling young people away from their computers, cell phones and 9-to-5 jobs and into the wilderness. But where does the "innovation" step in? Enter the "Sexy Hotness" sleeping bag ("the perfect sleeping bag for making love in the woods"), their Monarch Butterfly camping chair ("packs down to the size of a very large burrito"), their "In-Law Outlaw" tent (excellent for couples on cozy get-aways), or any of their totally styling backpacks and outdoorsy dog accessories.
In early June, Alite Designs hosted a singles event at Bloodhound Bar in SOMA, and on Friday, August 27 Alite Designs is putting on a "camp-in" movie night at Sports Basement where they'll show Stand By Me and serve beer and snacks.
Snagging a good campsite among Bay Area redwoods is about as easy as getting a parking spot in North Beach. But head to Butano State Park and, with a little help from a hike, the odds swing heavily in your favor. Butano is a park less traveled, and a 5.5-mile hike-in leads to a sweet reward: a tranquil trail camp among redwood trees. Make your way by heading up lush Jackson Flats Trail and exposed Canyon Trail. It’s a bit of a climb, but the effort is worth the huff and puff. Butano’s Trail Camp was just cleaned spic-and-span by the Boy Scouts (they even added log tables to most of the sites). Most of the sites are the size of a studio apartment—but #8 is more like a two-bedroom!
Rugged headlands, brushy hillsides, piney ridges, and pocket beaches—Point Reyes is a soul-soothing stretch of California coast that's less than half a gas tank from San Francisco. And when the day-tripping tourists leave, you've got it virtually to yourself. Accessible only by a 2- to 5-mile walk, Point Reyes' hike-in campgrounds are the best way to experience the Bay's favorite coastal wilderness wonderland. Grab one by reserving ahead or sacrificing some sleep (see below). Coast Campground is only a 1- to 2-minute walk from sublime Santa Maria beach, which is nearly vacant toward the end of the day.
San Francisco is a fractious city—there are Marina-ites and Mission-ites, Ritual devotees and those who swear by Blue Bottle. Rock climbers in the city are similarly divided—there are Mission Cliffs people and there are Planet Granite people. And while they each have their loyalists, both gyms are solid spots to learn and advance.
If you're looking for the quintessential Northern California pocket beach, head to Marin's Pirate's Cove. Only accessible by a moderate 1.5 mile hike, this secluded haven of soft white sand is bookended by tall, rugged cliffs. And the coast-hugging trail you must take to get there is almost as spectacular as the cove itself. Starting from Muir Beach, you ascend a fire road for about three-quarters of a mile until you reach the crest of the trail, and then—wow! Your high vantage point (pictured) offers stunning views of the craggy coast all the way to Pacifica—and you'll spot the stretch of sand that's your destination. Pirate's Cove's privacy made it a great staging area for bootleggers in the 1920s.