Share:

Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

Start Exploring
Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve

Share:

Advertisement
  • The west slope of Mount Sutro and Sutro Forest above the Inner Sunset neighborhood. Downtown San Francisco is behind and to the left. Sutro tower is to the right.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • Historic Trail.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • A trailside shrine along the North Ridge Trail.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • Sutro Forest consists almost entirely of blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus).- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • The distinct peeling bark of the blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus).- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • With Mount Sutro often enshrouded in fog, sunlight gives a different perspective to the forest.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • The North Ridge Trail.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • The view north across the Richmond neighborhood, The Presidio, and the Golden Gate Bridge towers.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • The east-facing slope of Mount Sutro frames the western edge of the Cole Valley neighborhood.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • The information kiosk at Rotary Meadow.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • Mountain bikes and dogs on leash permitted.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
  • The Interior Greenbelt shares the trail network with the reserve.- Sutro Forest + Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Nature in the city. Cloud forest. Multi-use trails.
Cons: 
Limited views.
Advertisement
Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Covering San Francisco's third tallest hill, Mount Sutro, Sutro Forest is a large blue gum eucalyptus forest offering San Franciscans a quiet network of trails to escape the city's hustle and bustle. Thanks to both UCSF and the the city of San Francisco, Sutro Forest is open to the public to enjoy for nature walks, trail running, and mountain biking.

Located within the fog belt, Sutro Forest is commonly referred to as a cloud forest. Resident eucalyptus trees draw the majority of their moisture from fog that blankets Mount Sutro much of the year. On a foggy day the atmosphere here can feel surreal. Listen for the calls from any of the 40 bird species inhabiting the area - you just might hear the hooting of the great horned owl or spot a red tail or Cooper's hawk. In addition to eucalyptus you'll find the occasional coast live oak, pine, and an understory filled with sword fern, blackberry, and ivy.

UCSF has done an excellent job marking trail junctions and providing distances with signage. With only 2.5 miles of trail network, it won't take long to become familiar with the area. The Historic Trail begins/ends at the 17th and Stanyan entrance in Cole Valley and contours around the north and west slopes of Mount Sutro. It offers the longest continuous trail and the best view to the north (don't sweeping open vistas, as the the thick canopy keeps views to a minimum). Other trails include Fairy Gates, North Ridge, Mystery Ridge, West Ridge, South Ridge, East Ridge and the Edgewood access trail.

Sutro Forest is surrounded by residential neighborhoods to the east, west and south; UCSF's Medical Center/Parnassus campus is adjacent to the north. Seven entry points shared among UCSF, Clarendon Avenue, Cole Valley and Forest Knolls provide access. Most trails follow the uphill grade and wind their way towards Rotary Meadow, a native plant meadow, and Mount Sutro's summit.

Parking is available street-side near one of the many entry points. Mountain biking is permitted throughout the majority of the trail network, where trails can be combined for longer laps. Keep an eye out for poison oak, which is common along trail edges. Dogs are permitted throughout the forest provided they remain on leash.

 

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(104 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
31 Members
Who's Done It
30 Members
Submission by
Team
319 Adventures Explored
311 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info