Need to stay fit for summer but want to do so while enjoying said summer weather — and keeping a social distance? Say no more. We have compiled a shortlist of the best outdoor stairways and inclines to help you stay in shape while enjoying the sunshine, ranging from moderate cardio to high-intensity workouts.
So whip out your foam roller, strap on your Nikes, and scroll down for your most scenic (but nonetheless challenging) workout ever.
1. 16th Avenue Tiled Steps
The tiled stairway at 16th Avenue and Moraga Street in the Sunset District offers a colorful photo op fit for Instagram–but it’s also fit for fitness. Running up the tiled stairway is a sweat-inducing workout in itself, but you can extend your inclined exercise even further by continuing past the tiled steps up to the summit at Grandview Park, then trek down the stairway that ends at Moraga and Funston Street. Circle back to complete your workout session, of course.
2. Corona Heights Park
The summit at Corona Heights Park offers a moderate workout with a spectacular view. At the bottom of the park is Bill Kraus Meadow, which is a flat, open grassy field that can be used for stretching before inclined sprint intervals, yoga, or any variation of floor exercises that you may choose to complement your uphill exercise. If you want to level-up your Corona Heights Park workout, then start walking at States and Castro Street and head uphill (westbound), then turn right onto the steeply inclined ramp next to the Corona Heights playground and tennis courts. Once you’ve reached the top of the hill (at which point you might be gasping for air), head straight past the Randall Museum toward the park.
3. Buena Vista Park
If exercising at Corona Heights is too moderate for you, you can push yourself even further by hiking the short distance to Buena Vista Park. There are countless inclined paths and stairways webbed throughout the park, so you can’t go wrong wherever you choose to start. This makes for a flexible build-your-own workout routine that you can adjust depending on your motivation and fitness level, all the while being surrounded by lush greenery.
4. Fort Funston
Fort Funston is one of the most beautiful coastal enclaves in San Francisco, let alone the entire Bay. The steep, sandy dunes that lead up from the beach offer grueling, glute-busting workouts without as much impact on joints as running up concrete or wooden stairs. If you’re looking for a defeating incline to sprint up, the dunes around the beach will not disappoint you. Additionally, there are 2 long log stairways at Fort Funston which are excellent for stair workouts, similar to the sand ladder at Baker Beach but with more parking and cleaner sand.
5. Lincoln Park Street Steps
The Lincoln Park steps are another one of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets. It’s a beautiful mosaic stairway like the 16th Street tiled steps, but much wider and less steep. As such, it’s a great place to run up and down for shorter cardio intervals. It’s also shaded by surrounding trees, making your workout a little more forgiving. There are plenty of flat, grassy areas above the steps where you can stretch, practice core exercises, or nap. Additionally, you can continue past the steps and head right to the Lands End hiking trail for a longer cardio workout with mesmerizing views of the Golden Gate Bridge.