Monday, January 6, 2014

60 Hikes in 60 Miles in 60 Weeks: Week Nineteen
Mount Davidson

Blooming blackberry on Mount Davidson
What it's like:
Although only about 1 mile, the Mount Davidson loop provides great exercise and outstanding San Francisco views.

Why now:
Enjoy mud-free trails and clear views thanks to the drought conditions. Some native (and alien) flowers are blooming -- look for flowering currant and garden-escapee fuchsias.

If you can't make it this week:
I hike here year round. In early spring (should it every rain) there are nice smatterings of wildflowers in the grassland. Go in summer to pick blackberries and watch swallowtail butterflies at the hilltop.

Insider tip:
Mount Davidson is one of the best city destinations for birdwatching. Look for kestrels and redtail hawks in the grassland, and a variety of songbirds in the woods, including chickadees, sparrows, and juncos. Hummingbirds and scrub jays are common (sometimes I even spot Steller's jays), and this time of year you might see warblers. Bring binoculars!

Mount Davidson is hike number 59 in 60 Hikes in 60 Miles: San Francisco (third edition)Read about this hike on BAHiker.

Alternate choice:
With conditions so eerily dry, it makes sense to hike in the woods, where at least we can see some green! Butano State Park, near Pescadero, is very quiet in winter, when the park's campground is closed. The loop I describe on BAHiker is one the park's shortest; with cool temperatures and totally dry trails this may be the perfect time to do "the big Butano loop," the 10 mile combination of Jackson Flats, Canyon, Indian, Doe Ridge, Goat Hill, and Ano Nuevo trails.

Post your comments and experiences here or on the BAHiker Facebook page.


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