Tank You Very Much

Hike Pemberton Steps to San Francisco's Tank Hill

Quietly located just below Twin Peaks, tiny Tank Hill is a premier place for gaining an incredible vista of our city by the bay. How do you get to it? Take the stairs! This 1-mile (all-in) walk starts just above the intersection of Clayton and Corbett, where you’ll find the base of Pemberton Place (aka Pemberton Stairs).

Once upon a time, conquering San Francisco’s steep flights of stairs was one of the quickest ways to scale the city. Today the steps provide a quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle. The stairs of Pemberton Place are divided in a trio of sections, each with unique characteristics. The first part, rising from Clayton Street, features bright red bricks, quaint homes, and wooden benches for taking it all in.

When you reach Villa Terrace, cross the street to the second flight—cement steps overgrown with ferns and shrubs (just consider it the awkward phase). From here cross Graystone Terrace and take the last flight of stairs up charming cobbled and moss-covered brick steps surrounded by lush private gardens and twinkling lights. (Views of San Francisco are beautiful from here.) At Crown Terrace, make a right and head to Twin Peaks Boulevard. Across the street, you’ll see the stairway leading up to 650-foot Tank Hill.

Sure, it’s 300 feet below towering Twin Peaks, but the secluded oasis and 180-degree view make it quite the ideal spot. The Presidio rolls its way to the Golden Gate and San Francisco's skyscrapers shimmer below. Spend some time exploring the little park’s trails. Tourists are rare; however, you may cross paths with locals coming out to snap some photos, hula hoop, picnic, or watch the sunset.

Here's a map to the start of the walk. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Three Beaches to the Wind

    This beautiful 7-mile (round-trip) coastal hike in the Marin Headlands connects three beaches: Muir Beach, Pirates Cove, and Tennessee Cove.

    View
  2. Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  3. Cross It Off Your Bucket List

    Crosstown Trail San Francisco may be one of the most beautiful city walks in America, passing through less-visited nooks and crannies while also taking in greatest hits, including mosaic stairways.

    View
  4. Yosemite Magic Trick

    Yosemite’s High Country is magical and without crowds. At a lofty 8,700 feet, Tuolumne Meadows is one of the best trailheads for hiking or backpacking a land of smooth granite domes, high alpine meadows, jagged peaks, and sapphire lakes. Here's a 3-night backpacking itinerary...

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Sea Change

    Right in time for the balmy fall days, the crowds have left and Monterey Bay Aquarium is at its shoulder season best. Fewer people means relaxing with more room to roam and enjoy the animals, exhibits, and nearby outdoors for biking, hiking, and beaches.

    View
  2. High Sierra Lake Hop

    Situated just north of Yosemite is a High Sierra wonderland that gets a fraction of the crowds and is a fantastic destination for backpacking. The Emigrant Wilderness is 113,000 acres of granite ridges, wildflower-strewn meadows, and cobalt lakes.

    View
  3. Thanks, Annie!

    Annie’s Canyon Trail in the 1,000-acre San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Solana Beach includes the most unique quarter-mile you’ve ever maneuvered—through a sandstone slot canyon!

    View
  4. Glam Paddling in Long Beach

    Sea kayaking doesn’t get any more glamorous than paddling the storybook canals around Long Beach’s Naples Island! You thread your way through calm waterways surrounded by luxury ho

    View