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Best Run San Francisco 2006 - Mount Sutro & Twin Peaks

Any local with an outdoorsy bent will tell you San Francisco is mounds of fun, but out-of-towners sometimes have a different view. If you'd like to prove our superiority to a sporty visitor, take her on this run. Begin at the Panhandle and go south on Cole Street to Parnassus Avenue, then head west three blocks to Willard Street. There, turn left, go 15 paces, and head rightward up the block-long staircase that connects Willard to Edgewood Avenue. Keep going straight from the top of the stairs and hop over a chain into the woods a block later. Continue through UCSF's Surge Parking Lot and along the footpath that parallels Medical Center Way, cutting left along the brambled trail that emerges at the UCSF married student housing. Keep going uphill until you reach a narrow paved pathway that continues until you're atop Mount Sutro. Even for the well conditioned, that's one mound of tough running. Next, run down past UCSF student housing to Clarendon Avenue and find the service road that goes to Sutro Tower. Don't go near the tower, as the guard is trained to deflect terrorists. Turn about two blocks before the guard shack through a fence opening onto Palo Alto Avenue, go right onto Marview Way, then left to scramble over dirt trails to the top of first one, then another of our Twin Peaks. By now, your friend's having mountains of fun. Or her legs are falling off. To snuff any such lingering ambiguity, run down the south side of Twin Peaks to Portola Drive. Run up Mount Davidson via the neighborhoods and dirt trails you'll find there. Then return and climb Twin Peaks again and head back to the Panhandle, having completed thousands of feet of elevation gain. If your friend is still singing the glories of outdoor life elsewhere, threaten to do this again. Witnessing her fear is a diversion available only in San Francisco.
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