The Bay Area’s Top 5 Outdoor Workouts

The Bay Area’s Top 5 Outdoor Workouts


Ditch the gym and enjoy some fresh air. You'll thank us later.

Hike the Iconic Dipsea

This 7.5 mile trail (one-way) is a Bay Area classic. It features lush forests, sweeping views of the coastline, expansive meadows, and ends at Stinson Beach. It's as beautiful as it sounds, but it's also an intense workout. The trail starts with nearly 700 stairs, includes over 2,200 feet of elevation change, and covers sections of rugged singletrack. With hills aptly named “Cardiac" and “Insult," you're sure to get your money's worth. Learn more.

Inside Tip: Due to the out-and-back nature of this trail, it's easy to create a run or hike of any length, so don't be intimidated. Also, for first-timers the trail can be a little confusing, so don't be afraid to ask for directions. If you decide to go all the way to Stinson, pick up the Route 61 shuttle for a ride back to Mill Valley.

Run the Lyon Street Steps

If you're looking for a great stair workout (with amazing views), look no further. Broken up between two sets of stairways that connect Cow Hollow and Pacific Heights, these 244 stairs are wide enough for drama free passing, and steep enough to really get your heart pumping. Plan on doing multiple sets and maybe mixing in some push-ups and sit-ups for a complete workout. The bay views from the top, and being sore for days, are your reward. Learn more.

Inside Tip: These stairs can be busy before and after work, but there's usually more than enough room for everyone. The cul-de-sac that separates the two stairways is the perfect place to stash workout accessories and your water. If you have some time, walk over to check out Andy Goldsworthy's "Wood Line" in the Presidio, it's right next door.

Run The Stanford Dish

This very hilly 3.3-mile loop is a go-to run for most Palo Alto residents and Stanford students, but it's also the perfect option for anyone who needs a quad crushing run, some fresh air, and bay views. We prefer the counter clockwise route, which features a gradual 2-mile incline to the top, as opposed to starting your run with a brutally steep initial ascent. This is a great trail for hill repeats, linking together longer runs, or even repeating the entire loop. Learn more.

Inside Tip:The entire trail is paved, which makes this the perfect option for a rainy day run. On warmer days, the lack of shade results in a really hot run, so be prepared. There is also a water fountain that's tucked away toward the end of the trail, but there are no bathrooms.

The Ultimate Beach Workout

This set of 200 sand “stairs" at Baker Beach is an under the radar gem with amazing views of the Golden Gate. The Baker Beach Sand Ladder is actually a section of the Pacific Coast Trail that's comprised of 200 poles tied together to form stairs that connect North Baker Beach to Lincoln Boulevard. Do repeats as a stand alone workout, or use it as a start/finish to a longer trail run. Either way, you're going to be exhausted. Learn more.

Inside Tip: Park in the lower Baker Beach parking lot and jog north to reach the ladder. Bring some water and your camera. This stretch of the beach also attracts the occasional nudist. Divert your eyes, or soak it all in.

Run Slacker Hill

This is a short and intense hill workout in the Marin Headlands. It's a steep 1-mile out-and-back trail that provides stunning views of the Bay, and is often much less crowded than other trails in the area. Run the hill 2-3 times, enjoy the views, and then head down to Sausalito to enjoy the rest of your day. Learn more.

Inside Tip: Remember to pack your phone or a camera - the views from the top are stunning. Plan ahead and pack a snack and a towel for the car, then head over to Rodeo Beach to relax after you're done.

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