Walking up Twin Peaks from the Upper Castro

A friend was asking me about a dog-walk I've been doing a lot on the weekends, heading up to the large antenna on top of Twin Peaks. Since it took me a little experimentation to figure out the best route, I've put together this little map and guide. It's a five mile round-trip, with some serious San Francisco hill climbing, and it's almost entirely along streets. It rewards you with some amazing views all the way though, especially from the summit. It usually takes me and Thor a little under two hours, so it's a great way to squeeze a good workout into a busy day.

I start off from my apartment at Church and Duboce, and walk a couple of blocks along Hermann, into the Duboce dog park. This is a fantastic diversion for both of us, there's almost always a good bunch of dogs and owners. After Thor's done his socializing, we then take Noe down to Market. Following Market for a couple of blocks takes you to 17th Street. This goes straight up, and keeps teasing you with false summits. Eventually, after a tough climb, you'll turn onto Clayton.

This turn is the only slightly tricky part of the route, since you take Clayton for a block, and then cross over to Twin Peaks Boulevard as it forks off. Going up past the small Tank Hill park, you'll then continue along Twin Peaks as it cuts left, away from Clarendon. This is the final stretch, and only the first section has any sidewalk. After that, you're walking on the shoulder, and while it's not too tough, be careful of the corners with poor visibility if you have a dog who thinks he should be able to walk down the center line. Some of the downhill bikes and cars pick up quite a lot of speed. There are social trails cutting a lot of the corners, so I'd definitely consider those.

Finally you'll make it up to the viewpoint. Especially after a rain, you get a magnificent vista, stretching out over downtown, across the Bay, and into Marin. Take it all in, and try not to be too disturbed by the posters asking for information on a recent homicide in the parking lot. I'm guessing it's quite a different world at night, but during the day it's full of visitors enjoying the sights.

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