Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Two new editions of San Francisco guidebooks to get (and keep) you walking

San Francisco is famously small -- just 46.89 square miles, but the City is packed with surprises, and the best way to experience our special places is on foot. 
Sutro Tower from the San Francisco Botanical Garden (photo by Jane Huber)
My go-to book for exploring San Francisco has always been Stairway Walks. This classic by Adah Bakalinsky is now out in the 9th edition. Mary Burk supplements Bakalinsky's classic with a fresh eye, and each of the 35 walks are well-described and mapped. Stairways Walks has shown me some of my favorite quirky spots in the City, such as Harry Steps (between Diamond Heights and Glen Park), the "Planet Streets" and steps of Upper Market, and the Greenwich Stairway to Coit Tower. I haven't done them all yet (Russian Hill North, you're calling my name), and look forward to revisiting my old favorites.
Drum Bridge in the Japanese Tea Garden (photo by Jane Huber)
Walking San Francisco, by Kathleen Doge Doherty with Tom Downs, is a great compliment to Stairway Walks. The third edition of this book is a colorful and practical San Francisco guide. With clear maps and historical context, the walks are easy to navigate as well as educational and fun. Most the walk are concentrated in the City's northeast, making this guide exceptionally useful for tourists or folks in town for work staying in downtown hotels. I appreciate the cafe, restaurant, and bakery recommendations; when walking these steep streets we need to stop and refuel from time to time. Number 26 is one of my favorites, stringing together a visit to Bird and Beckett Books, a hike through Glen Canyon, and a choice of restaurants in Glen Park village. A wish for the next edition: more walks west of Twin Peaks please!
View of Alcatraz from the walk to the Wave Organ (photo by Jane Huber)
Disclosure: Walking San Francisco and Stairway Walks are published by Wilderness Press. My book, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: San Francisco, is published by Menasha Ridge Press. Both presses are part of the AdventureKeen family, who provided me copies of the books in exchange for honest reviews.