3 Great Reasons to Climb the Hill Into Bernal Heights

3 Great Reasons to Climb the Hill Into Bernal Heights

It's one of the grimmest times of year in San Francisco: when the sunny paradise of burnished October falls instead to one grey sky after another. But don't give up hope just yet--the time for hermiting with a Terry Pratchett book need not be so soon. Instead, slap on a raincoat and get outdoors, heading as south as you can go without getting into serious out-of-MUNI territory: up the summit to Bernal Heights! Here are three great reasons to make the trek:

1. The Exercise--This might seem a little silly, but Bernal Heights Summit is a good 500 foot climb from bottom to top, and it's only about a half-block long. Even you Potrero Hill or Twin Peaks dwellers will probably be sweating and clutching at your hamstrings, and we Mission-mongers consider our Sunday climbs our workouts for the month. Add a run up and down Cesar Chavez for your trouble, and you'll have those shapely calves just in time for Valentine's Day season.

2. The Dogs--Bernal Heights Summit is one of the largest off-leash dog parks in the area, and it has an almost magical quality to it. Despite the plethora of pooches that run amok up there, everyone seems to get along fine. Plus, the folks that are carting their canines about tend to have lots of time to let creepers like myself give their Great Danes and Jack Russells a chin-scratch, which makes them great citizens in my book.

3. The View--Take it from me. Even if you've seen photos of the span from the top of Bernal Heights, nothing can do that spread justice except actually trekking up there your dang self. Go on a clear day if you can--you can see across the Bay all the way to Oakland and Berkeley, and you'll be amazed at how much life can wedge itself into a relatively small city.

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