Bernal Heights Park

Bernal Heights

On this episode of Get to Know Your San Francisco Parks, we will be continuing our saga from Billy Goat Hill Park to Bernal Heights Park.

Most of the walk from Billy Goat Hill to Bernal Heights was down neighborhood streets. We stopped at Safeway to grab a picnic lunch and passed by Eric’s favorite spaghetti shop (that unfortunately wasn’t open).

A mural outside of the infamous Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack.

Like most of our urban hikes, this one was full of stairs – however, it did have a cool slide hidden between houses.

Michael would have loved it.

We decided to rest for a bit once we reached the road that wrapped around the base. We found a cute bench where we had our Safeway picnic full of chicken burritos and turkey sandwiches. We made friends with a bunch of dogs that wanted to share our lunch with us. One of them even gave us her ball as a bartering chip – unfortunately her owner didn’t approve.

Perfect spot for a picnic.

Once done eating, we continued along the road until we got to the eastern most point where we began our ascent. Good thing my mom got me hiking books for my birthday! ;) At the top of the eastern side, lower than the western side, we ran into a mini Darth Vader and his dad “the treacherous General Grievous”. They were so adorable… I don’t even have words.

Mini Vader and dad.

We walked along the northern path from the east to west side.

It has some great views of the financial district.

Looking back, from the west side to the east at the trail we took – where those 2 dudes are.

There’s a relatively large open space, blocked by the wind and the weird building up there, that’s a good area for kids and dogs to run around. Some people were even flying kites. The road that wraps around the base also makes it way up there on the southern side.

The end of the road.

From the end of the road that goes to the weird building, there are two ways to get to the western most side: a safe one and a dangerous one. Which one do we take? The dangerous one, of course. It wraps around the northern side of the weird building and is a very small path with a very steep ledge. It wouldn’t be so bad if it hadn’t been so fucking windy. There were times that, even with my new hiking boots, I felt like I might be blown off the edge. However, it was all worth it for this beautiful view:

View from the northeast to west.

In the panorama you can see (from right to left): Oakland, The San Francisco Bay, The Bay Bridge, Potrero Hill, The Financial District, Mission District, Marin Headleads, Mt. Tam, Golden Gate Bridge (look closely), The Presidio, Noe Valley, Buena Vista Park, Twin Peaks and Sutro Tower, Glen Canyon Park, and Mt. Davidson. For those of you too lazy to click the panorama, here’s the best shot:

Space claw!

Once we got to the western most point I did another panorama:

View from the north to south.

In this panorama you can see (from right to left): The Financial District, Mission District, Marin Headleads, Mt. Tam, The Presidio, Noe Valley, Buena Vista Park, Twin Peaks and Sutro Tower, Glen Canyon Park, Mt. Davidson, Bernal Heights, Holly Park, San Bruno Mountain State Park, John McLaren Park, and Bayview Park. You may notice that a bunch of these parks aren’t links… which means we have a lot more adventuring to do!

After a long day of exploring, we walked an extra 2.5 miles to get ice cream at Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous.

25,000 steps & 150 floors = ice cream!

Bernal Heights Park is now one of my favorite parks – perfect for hiking, picnicking, dogs, children, kite flying, and sightseeing. If you’d like to see even more photos of Bernal Heights, check out my flickr set (& Chris’s flickr set). If Bernal Heights Park isn’t your thing, check out my collection of San Francisco parks to find one better suited for you.


P.S. This episode has been formatted to fit your mobile device. Please enjoy!