Whose curiosity isn’t piqued by the 60-foot letters spelling “Industrial City” in the shadow of San Bruno Mountain? They conjure the foundries of South San Francisco’s past. But now Sign Hill’s 30 acres are a great place to hike.
The five trails here total under two miles, but give yourself hours to explore these grasslands that sustain endangered butterflies and at least one coyote.
Ridge Trail leads from the trailhead to a superb vista, but look north to find hummingbird sage, silver leaf lupine, and Lindley’s lupine. Continue on Letters Trail, traversing the letters’ base and descending through coyote bush to a grove of toyon, pine, and cypress, with an understory of flannel bush, coast silk tassel, and ceanothus. Eucalyptus Loop meanders under towering blue gums and acacia. Seubert and Iris Hill trails are short but steep. I favor descending Iris Hill’s switchbacks and stairway through live oaks, pines, and redwoods. Seubert Trail summits at a sun-dappled, ferny grove where raptors roost.
Though Sign Hill has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996, the park’s north side is privately owned and slated for development. Learn more at mountainwatch.org and friendsofsignhill.com.
Getting There: Take 101 south to exit 425c or north to exit 425b. Turn onto Sister Cities Boulevard, left on Stonegate Drive and Ridgeview Court, dead-ending at a parking lot with a kiosk.