Tony Holiday is a San Francisco resident who likes hiking the area. This is republished with permission and minor changes from “Interior Greenbelt Unmarked” on his blog, Stairways are Heaven.
In this, the second of two articles, Tony hikes up Stanyan in Cole Valley – which is steep enough for sidewalk steps at the upper end – then goes through the forest, and then goes out through the Oakhurst Lane staircase in Forest Knolls, down to Warren Drive and the Garden for the Environment on 7th Avenue.
[Read the previous article here: Hiking Through Mount Sutro Forest – Tony Holiday (Part 1)]
INTERIOR GREENBELT UNMARKED
(May 18, 2013)
Several years ago the uppermost Interior Greenbelt Trail into Mount Sutro Forest was a tad more challenging, when I’d pull myself up along the side of a building just before exiting at the Aldea residential area.
This trail’s at the top dead-end of Stanyan, a short distance above the Stanyan trailhead for the lower Historic Trail. [Webmaster: See Hiking Through Mount Sutro Forest Part I.] Upper Stanyan’s steep, with sidewalk steps on both sides (pics 1 through 4).
Turning right at Belgrave & Stanyan will take you to a trail-head with old wood posts and a few steps into the forest (pic 5); no trail markers at either end. It’s steep; you don’t want “challenging,” bypass this one. Last time I was there, a guy was walking his bike up.
(Another trail can be seen here, an offshoot from this one, that veers to the right just behind upper Stanyan homes but then climbs so you’re not overly close to their backyards. This was recommended by a fellow hiker a while back and twice trekked by me. But this is rougher than the main one and difficult to follow at times. It does, however, exit partway along the lower Historic Trail. Might this be a possible future trail extension to connect with the Lower Historic Trail from the Belgrave trailhead?)
But I digress. Partway up the main one, a tree limb across the trail is perfect as a bench. Climb over and continue up, eucalyptus aromatherapy, birdsong, and unspoiled forest surrounding you (pic 6).
It zigs by the foot of a residence (pic 7) and comes out (more easily these days) at Behr & Johnstone, with a trailhead-with-marker for the delightful Fairy Gates Trail (pics 8, 9, 10) nearby.
Slightly uphill from here is the Aldea Center (11th pic) and trail head for the East Ridge Trail.
STAIRWAY IN FOREST KNOLLS NEIGHBORHOOD
Back down to Clarendon and a block or so to the west to enter the Forest Knolls ‘hood at the foot of Christopher, then onto Crestmont. Winding past Devonshire and the “Not a Through Street” signs, to descend the 355 Oakhurst Lane steps (pics 12, 13, 14, 15) to Warren…
…onto Locksley, and into Garden for the Environment via the short rope-railed garden stairway here.
Last pic: west side of Forest Knolls and Sutro Forest. [Webmaster: Garden for the Environment is just visible to the left of the picture, behind the black car.]
[Edited to Add: These maps may help to trace the route.]
“unspoiled forest”? Looked like it was covered in ivy, unfortunately.
[Webmaster: Ivy is an important element in the ecosystem and habitat. It provides cover and food for wildlife.
Incidentally, your Asian Herps site is awesome. Thanks for putting that up. (Anyone interested in frogs/ reptiles should check it out – click on ‘Asian Herp Blogs‘)]