Residents find new hiking trails in the City

Locations of hiking trails in San Francisco open to the public during shelter-in-place order.

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Nina Gutierrez, Reporter

After weeks of being cooped up inside the house, many San Francisco residents are taking advantage of the warm weather to explore local hiking trails while complying with the social distancing requirements.

“Since I sit behind a screen for hours during the school day, I wanted to add variation to my day,” sophomore Bridget Mills said. “The sunny weather recently has helped motivate me to go outside and get fresh air on a daily basis.”

Hiking trails in San Francisco are open to the public, but San Francisco Recreation & Parks has closed parking lots at trailheads to encourage people to stay in their own neighborhood while engaging in physical activity to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

“I have started to take weekly hikes in Twin Peaks because I can easily walk there from my house,” Mills said. “It has been pretty crowded each time I’ve gone since it is such a convenient location to get fresh air for many people in my neighborhood.”

Places to hike in San Francisco include Glen Park Canyon, Mount Davidson Park, Twin Peaks, Lands End and the Presidio. Additionally, Mayor London Breed has ordered the closure of many streets in the city to avoid vehicle traffic and allow more space for people to move around freely outdoors. 

Parts of John F. Shelley Drive in John McLaren Park in Golden Gate Park are closed to vehicles until the shelter-in-place order is over. This enables those who exercise in the park to keep a social distance.  

All hikers must follow social distancing guidelines and stay at least 6 feet apart from individuals who do not live in their household, according to San Francisco’s Department of Health.

“Recently, I went on a hike with my friend at the Polo Fields,” junior Ella Holiday said. “It’s a big space and was not overcrowded which made it very easy to stay 6 feet away from everyone, including my friend.”

With streets closed and encouragement to stay home, walking has become the mode of transportation, improving the air quality. The decrease in driving has reduced pollution and has caused wildlife to re-emerge.

“When I’ve gone outside, I have noticed the air is much clearer.” junior Olivia Callander said. “This is most likely because there have not been as many cars on the road.”

Although public drinking fountains remain open, it is recommended that hikers bring their filled up water bottles from home to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Additionally, the city is providing public handwashing stations and portable restrooms to promote hygiene and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“I am really conscious of making sure I stay hydrated,” junior Olivia Callanderr said. “During this time, I never use public water fountains, so I bring my own filled up water bottle from home whenever I exercise outdoors.”

 Additional information on how to keep yourself and others healthy in public settings is available at SF.GOV. The San Francisco Recreation & Parks website provides COVID-19 updates and alerts on closed parks and recreational activities in the city. 

 

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