Photos: City by the Bay

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  1. City view

    The Transamerica Pyramid building is seen through the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge on June 20, 2007. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Cable cars

    A cable car makes its way up a steep hill on California Street in San Francisco on Oct. 8, 2008. The California cable car line is the least-crowded of the three working lines and is the one most often used by locals. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Alcatraz

    Seagulls fly over San Francisco Bay with Alcatraz Island in the background on April 24, 2007. The former federal penitentiary is a popular San Francisco tourist attraction. (Eric Risberg / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Cell block walk

    Visitors tour a cell block on Alcatraz Island. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The scenic route

    A car makes its way along the 49-Mile Scenic Drive on March 25, 2005, in San Francisco. San Francisco's 49-Mile Scenic Drive was opened in 1939 as a guide for visitors to The City's 1939-1940 Golden Gate International Exposition. The route includes most of San Francisco's major sights as well as winding through many of the city's colorful neighborhoods, giving visitors a look into the diversity and beauty of the area. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Chinatown

    A pedestrian walks by the Ma-Tsu temple in San Francisco's Chinatown district on February 3, 2011. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. California Academy of Sciences

    The flooded rain forest exhibit is shown at the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco on Sept. 18, 2008. On the ground floor of the exhibit, tropical fish swim in the flooded roots of trees. Then an elevator takes visitors up into the canopy where birds fly free in a giant glass dome. (Paul Sakuma / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Sea lions

    A group of sea lions rest on a dock at Pier 39 on December 12, 2007, in San Francisco. The boisterous and playful mammals are a huge hit with tourists. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Victorian architecture

    The famous row of homes known as the "Painted Ladies" are seen from Alamo Square Park on Feb. 2, 2009, in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Surf's up

    A surfer walks out of the water at Ocean Beach on December 5, 2006, in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Palace of Fine Arts

    Birds fly in front of the Palace of Fine Arts. The building is one of many sites on San Francisco's 49-Mile Scenic Drive. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lombard Street

    A single car drives down Lombard Street, San Francisco's most crooked street, on April 29, 2003. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Golden Gate Park

    A family rows a boat on Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park on June 21, 2011, in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Fisherman's Wharf

    Pedestrians walk through the typically crowded Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco’s most popular tourist attraction, known for its historic waterfront, delicious seafood, unique shopping and more. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Choose your dinner

    Tourists pick out their dinner at a local restaurant. San Francisco salutes the Dungeness Crab with its annual Crab Festival in February. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Ghirardelli Square

    San Francisco's landmark Ghirardelli Square is seen on May 12, 2003. The square was originally a chocolate factory but now houses retail shops and restaurants. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Angel Island

    A group of visitors take a segway tour on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay on June 3, 2009. Once known as the "Ellis Island of the West," the Angel Island immigration station, a historic site, was designed to control the flow of Chinese immigrants to the United States. (Jeff Chiu / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Japanese Tea House and Garden

    The Japanese Tea House and Garden is an attraction in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Today, 75,000 people visit the park on an average weekend. (Philip H. Coblentz / SFCVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Coit Tower

    The moon rises next to Coit Tower on September 22, 2010, in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: San Francisco Will Study Golden Gate Tidal Movement As Energy Source
    Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (19) San Francisco: City by the Bay - City by the Bay
  2. Image: Bridge Building
    General Photographic Agency via Getty Images
    Slideshow (28) San Francisco: City by the Bay - The Golden Gate Bridge
updated 10/8/2007 7:58:34 PM ET 2007-10-08T23:58:34
CYBERTRIPS

Visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area will no doubt stroll through Fisherman's Wharf, climb Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill and view the Pacific Ocean from Cliff House.

While these sights are worthy, most don't provide the views or experience available at the countless miles of hiking just outside of the city. With a few exceptions, most of these hikes can be reached with a short drive and are open year-round.

Lace your boots and learn more about hikes in the region at the San Francisco Bay Area Hiker. The site, started by avid Bay Area hiker and trail guide Jane Huber, contains a list of hikes, tips on the best views and helpful hints.

Take a quick drive from downtown San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park contains miles of excellent hiking trails, many with postcard views of San Francisco. Some of the better views can be obscured by thick fog common in the region so check the weather before you head out.

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Venture a touch farther into Marin County and visit Muir Woods the site of a pivotal scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." The park is home to tall redwoods as well as miles of excellent and not-too difficult hikes.

Hikers looking for a better workout should check out nearby Mount Tampalpais. The 2,571-foot peak can be accessed by numerous different hiking trails, some of which traverse the entire mountain and drop into Stinson Beach. The Dipsea Trail is especially popular among locals and the site of numerous trail runs. It's even inspired some long-distance runners to run the course twice.

Dedicated hikers should drive farther north into wine country to Mount St. Helena in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. The author spent his honeymoon in the region in the late 19th century and on a clear day the views are impressive. Don't forget about the East Bay, home to many well-kept parks and lightly trafficked trails. Mount Diablo contains some of the Bay Area's most challenging hikes, including a loop that takes a day to complete. Click here for hikes ranging from easy walks to daylong treks. If you're looking for a peerless view in the South Bay near San Jose, visit Mission Peak Preserve. A local hiker details everything from the topography to the view here.

Santa Cruz boasts many excellent and remote trails. A good starting point is Santa Cruz State Parks or the Big Basin Redwoods. Big Basin is California's oldest state park and contains several challenging walks.

Hikers looking for overnight ventures can plan a trip using GORP's guide to Bay Area backpacking. The 20-plus mile Ohlone Trail, detailed in a Web journal here, is also a draw for many backpackers.

If you are looking for a more urban setting after spending a day or two hiking outside of the city, try a walking tour of Chinatown or the Dashiell Hammett walking tour which covers sites trafficked by the noir writer and San Francisco resident.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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