On a clear day it’s visible virtually everywhere in San Francisco: Sutro Tower. On any day I’m in the City I tell myself I want to climb the hill the three legged TV antenna rests upon. With a trip to the De Young museum to see a David Hockney exhibition, the weather, time and energy level to hike up a hill all aligned for us to find a way to climb up to the Sutro Tower.
Hockney: bigger isn’t better
The time spent hiking up to the Sutro Tower was far better spent than the energy wasted on the Hockney exhibit. Unless you are a fairly enthusiastic fan of Hockney, which I am, the show seems more of a vehicle to sell the Hockney merchandise than to display his talent. There were some great simple pencil portraits, a study of landscapes through different seasons and some very large works centered on Hockney’s interest with the Sermon on the Mount.
Hockney iPad art was half-inspiring
Multimedia and video were also incorporated into the exhibit which included a long recording of Hockney driving in a car, a series of jugglers walking in a circle and a layered power point presentation of some of his iPad art. It was the art Hockney created on his iPhone and iPad that most first led to me the art exhibit at the De Young Museum. It was also the biggest disappointment. After viewing some of Hockney’s oil portraits that were complete just last September, we decided it was too nice a day to stay indoors looking at “non-museum” quality art work.
Teenagers trekking through San Francisco
There are few family experiences that seem so right as when we can easily segue from high-brow museum absorption into a sweat inducing hike on the neighboring hill. We were also able to squeeze in a quick stroll through Cole Valley and Haight-Ashbury as we had taken the North Judah Metro Line in from the Embarcadero. The evening was capped off with a nice dinner at Cafe Zoetrope in North Beach. The mass transit rides, museum wanderings, the hiking on an unknown hill and great Italian dinner were all enhanced by two 16 year old boys (son and friend) who seemed to be relishing in the adventures.
Zig zag hike to Sutro Tower
There are probably a half a dozen easier ways to traverse from Golden Gate Park over to Sutro Tower. Regardless of which way you hike, it is difficult to get lost, but you may have to walk a little further. There is a map in the photo gallery at the end of the post. Our trek was as follows:
- Arguello Blvd. to Carl St.
- North on the steepest part of the hike up Hillway Ave. to Parnassus Ave.
- Left a short distance to Medical Center Way which takes you to the back side of UCSF Hospital
- We started walking up the first stair case we came to and through some campus buildings
- We stumbled onto the North Ridge Trail which took us to the top of this and around an old Nike missile site.
- We stayed on the trail, through UCSF campus housing to Clarendon Ave.
- Right on Clarendon (careful this is a busy street) and left on Dellbrook Ave.
- There is another trail that parallels Dellbrook and will take you all the way around Sutro Tower and to Palo Alto Ave.
Yeah, I’ve been there –
The views from hilltops are not that spectacular because of all the stupid trees that get in the way. Better panoramic views can be had at neighboring Twin Peaks which is essentially treeless. But that is the way day hikes usually go. You have some great unexpected moments punctuated by planned destinations that are duds. While Sutro Tower wasn’t a particularly awe inspiring moment, the next time I travel into the City I’ll look up, see Sutro and think, “Yeah, I’ve been there and it was nice.”
Click to enlarge images.