The Notch Trail begins at Skyline College, a 20-minute drive south of San Francisco, and at first glance it appears to be a very common hike. After just few hundred meters, however, the trail leaves the trees for an impressive vantage point from which to view the Bay Area. The climb up a series of substantial, rolling hills is assisted by steep wooden staircases, rendering the trail unfit for mountain bikes and equestrians. Registering only 1 mile, hikers seeking more mileage often continue on to Mori Ridge and Sweeney Ridge trails.
An abandoned Coast Guard outpost sits atop the exposed ridge of costal scrub and wildflowers, and you'll see mission blue butterfly habitat along the way. This endangered species can only be found in the Bay Area, and it is generally threatened by the preponderance of invasive species that crowd out the plants needed for survival. Mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats are known to frequent the hills above San Bruno, and they are generally not aggressive unless provoked. Remain calm, control your pets, and stand your ground if you encounter wildlife.
There is limited parking reserved for Golden Gate National Recreation Area hikers at Skyline College lot #2. Parking in other lots requires a student permit, although street parking is available across campus in a residential neighborhood.