If you’re looking for something adventurous this Valentine’s Day, how about going for a hike? It’s free, it’s active and the beautiful wilderness can really get the sparks flying. From building ruins to breathtaking views to gushing waterfalls, we’ve got plenty of ideas for your holiday smooching adventures. Check out these hikes we recommend for all your romantic needs.
Anniversary Trail Loop, Windy Hill Open Space – Portola Valley
If the name isn’t romantic enough, this easy 1.3-mile hike provides a 360-degree view from ocean to bay for your visual pleasure. The preserve hosts 12 miles of trails surrounded by a mixture of grassy slopes and various trees. There is a very high chance of it being breezy and chilly, so make sure to bring a jacket (or a blanket to cuddle up next to your special someone).
Jack London State Historic Park – Sonoma
This 1364-acre State Park boasts a handful of historic (and romantic) buildings and ruins. If you find yourself craving more adventure, you can also meander around the many trails in the park, leading to various viewpoints, picnic spots and the lake. The park also plans to host a Valentine’s Day piano concert as a fundraiser, starting at 4 p.m. (paired with a sunset to make the date extra dreamy).
Little Yosemite, Sunol Regional Wilderness – Fremont
If you don’t have the time to travel all the way to Yosemite National Park, take a short day-trip to its little cousin in Fremont. There are plenty of beautiful nature features to be enjoyed on this easy 3.13-mile trail, but Little Yosemite Falls is a perfect spot for some passionate one-on-one time.
Marshall Beach – San Francisco
This short, gorgeous hike has views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Ocean, Marin Headlands and West Coast. Around every turn of the trail awaits a new breathtaking scene. The trail travels down the hillside, mostly wooden stairs with some dirt trail patches. When you get down to the beach, the calming waves and beautiful views will set the mood for your Valentine’s Day. Fair warning: also known as “Bad Boy Beach,” you may see some other patrons in their, uh, “natural form” really getting into the holiday spirit.
Hawk Hill, Marin Headlands – Marin
Do raptors get you going? Or is it scenic overlooks that take your breath away? Hawk Hill has both. One of the most famous hills in the Marin Headlands, Hawk Hill is a raptor migration site and offers 360-degree views of the Golden Gate, San Francisco and the Headlands jutting out into the sea. Plus, the abandoned remains of a Nike missile site give plenty of nooks for a long smooch or two.
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The California Coastal Trail runs west of Highway 1 along this scenic stretch of the San Mateo coast.
A writer goes looking for fish, stories, and memories in the East Bay parks.