Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Photo Tour: Presidio Trail Run (aka The Most Beautiful Run in San Francisco)

Today is my last day of “vacation.” I’ve been between work and school for the past 8 weeks, but tomorrow my official school duties start with two full days of orientation. On Monday classes will begin and I anticipate my life will become more busy than it has been in many, many years. I have 36 hours of class and clinical per week (including 8am to 8pm class on Tuesdays), plus I have to manage to fit in training, eating and sleeping. Oy veh!

To celebrate my last vacation day I did my favorite run. It is a trail run through the Presidio and it also happens to be the Escape from Alcatraz run course. I have only been running for a few years, but I will say without a doubt that this is the most beautiful run I’ve ever done. Plus, the weather today was just perfect. Bright sun, slight breeze, mid-60’s. Perfect.

I parked and started my run at Marina Green, right next to Fort Mason. Amazing views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
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The first mile or so is along Marina Green and the Embarcadaro. Then you pass the Palace of Fin Arts (the round dome) and make your way onto the gravel path through Crissy Field, also known as the Golden Gate Promenade or the Bay Trail.
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Every time I see palm trees I smile. I still can’t believe I live in California!
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Mile 2 brings you past the Warming Hut Park Store and CafĂ©. I’ve never been inside but I think they sell snacks and souvenirs. There are also nice public restrooms and drinking fountains here.
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Just past the Warming Hut you make a left and head up your first set of (many) stairs.
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Once you are at the top of your first set of stairs and switch backs you are rewarded with more amazing views.
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The trail flattens for a bit and runs along the Historic Batteries.
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Through a tunnel. The exit is very low so don’t forget to duck!
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The views never end. Continue up a steep grade and then under the Golden Gate Bridge.
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After passing under the bridge just follow all the signs towards Baker Beach.
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Baker Beach is beautiful and mostly empty. Just watch out because it also happens to be a nude beach. I had the pleasure of seeing not one, but two, very old naked men today. Don’t worry, I didn’t take a picture.
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Once you are on the beach make a right and head towards the Golden Gate Bridge. In the race we actually had to go left for awhile and then loop around, but I generally skip the extra beach running.
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Keep an eye along the shore for the infamous Sand Ladder.
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The first 200 steps or so are very steep. My strategy here is always to “walk with purpose.” I find it is impossible (and probably a little dangerous) to try to run.

I took this photo looking back down when I was about half way up.
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Finally the ladder ends and you meet up with the road. Now you hang a left and head back along the same path.
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This is another set of stairs of an abandoned military building that you run through.
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Back through the tunnel.
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Down the stairs.
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Pass the Warming Hut and run back towards the city on the Golden Gate Promenade.
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The total run from Marina Green is 7.5 miles. About 4 miles is a flat run along the Golden Gate Promenade and the other 3.5 miles is a crazy fun twist of stairs, single track trails, the beach and the tunnel. If you are ever in the city you must make time for this run. Let me know and I will happily be your tour guide!


Regina said...

Just gorgeous! I'm living on the wrong coast.

Jon said...

That looks....hard! LOL!

Great views and pics! Hoping to visit San Fran one of these days.

melinda said...

Awesome! Maybe I'll give this a whirl once we get there! (we're starting the drive tomorrow!)

Ironman By Thirty said...

Do you have a guest bedroom???? :)

It looks absolutely gorgeous. My wife and I eventually want to do a trip out west. Possibly taking the train cross country to Portland and then up to San Francisco. May have to move the timeline up on that after seeing these pictures.


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