Looking for something to do off the beaten path in the San Francisco Bay Area? If you don’t mind short hikes there are hidden labyrinths worth visiting in Oakland and San Francisco. Both are true labyrinths i.e. only one path to the center rather than a maze, which offers several choices. Read on!
Labyrinth at Lands End, San Francisco
One of the best kept secrets in San Francisco is the Lands End hike. A mostly flat hike, you start from the Sutro Baths area in Golden Gate Park. It’s amazing that even though this place is so easily accessible from within city limits, not many people know about it.
Follow the coastal trail signs. Along this well marked, paved trail and you get great views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge.
After following the trail for about an hour, mostly along the ocean, you will see stairs that take you closer to the ocean. If you don’t see signs for the Labyrinth, follow the crowd.
The labyrinth itself is man-made and can be slightly underwhelming. It has been destroyed a few times but people have collected the stones and reassembled it. Just for kicks, try to get to the middle of it. We did 🙂 The view of the ocean and bridge, especially around sunset is stunning and well worth the walk.
Labyrinth at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Oakland
A short drive from downtown Oakland gives you access to many regional parks like Tilden (Berkeley) and the Sibley Volcanic Preserve. It is one of the East Bay Regional Park District’s oldest parks and is best known for the mysterious labyrinths that have appeared at the bottom of the quarry canyons.
Drive up to the parking lot and pick up a brochure/map. We took the Round Top Loop Trail which is a self guided trail with notes on the volcanic history of the reserve and of course, the labyrinth.
The trail isn’t very steep. After 2-3 miles you come to a view point where you can see the labyrinth below. You can take the detour along a narrow path to reach the labyrinths. It is called the Mazzariello labyrinth, named after the East Bay resident who created it in 1989.
The labyrinth itself is easy, but there is a certain pleasure in discovering these hidden treasures!