Mount Ellen Summit Trail

San Francisco, California

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There’s one in every guidebook—the hike that one climbs simply for climbing’s sake, testing lungs and legs both on the uphill run and the downhill. The Mount Ellen Trail is a lovely physical-fitness exam that can be followed by a cooldown in nearby Pescadero Creek and a night spent in the park’s wooded campground. Reaching the top of any peak is exhilarating, and Mount Ellen, though only 680 feet above sea level, is no exception. But it’s not the views and altitude that make this a great day hike. It’s the fact that you’ll have climbed a dozen switchbacks to attain the summit—and have burned more than enough calories to validate a gooey s’more at camp in the evening. The route has the added benefit of beginning and ending on a nature trail. Borrow a guide at the park’s entry kiosk, and read all about the environment through which you climb and descend so quickly. The breaks, particularly on the climb, will be welcome rests.

Mount Ellen Summit Trail Professional Review and Guide

"There’s one in every guidebook—the hike that one climbs simply for climbing’s sake, testing lungs and legs both on the uphill run and the downhill. The Mount Ellen Trail is a lovely physical-fitness exam that can be followed by a cooldown in nearby Pescadero Creek and a night spent in the park’s wooded campground. Reaching the top of any peak is exhilarating, and Mount Ellen, though only 680 feet above sea level, is no exception. But it’s not the views and altitude that make this a great day hike. It’s the fact that you’ll have climbed a dozen switchbacks to attain the summit—and have burned more than enough calories to validate a gooey s’more at camp in the evening. The route has the added benefit of beginning and ending on a nature trail. Borrow a guide at the park’s entry kiosk, and read all about the environment through which you climb and descend so quickly. The breaks, particularly on the climb, will be welcome rests."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: San Francisco
Distance: 1.6
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 1 hour
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: San Mateo Memorial County Park
Local Maps: USGS: La Honda
Driving Directions: Directions to Mount Ellen Summit Trail

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May 2018