The San Francisco Twin Peaks at 922 feet in elevation, is second only to Mt. Davidson in height, offers spectacular views of the Bay Area, and is a world-famous tourist attraction. Originally called “Los Pechos de la Choca” (Breasts of the Maiden) by early Spanish settlers, these two adjacent peaks provide postcard views and a treasure trove of animal and plant diversity. Most visitors to Twin Peaks drive (or take a tourist bus) to the north peak parking lot to enjoy 180-degree views of the Bay Area.
Many miss an opportunity to experience the coastal scrub and grassland communities of this 64-acre park. Similar to the Marin Headlands, Twin Peaks gives us an idea of how San Francisco’s hills and peaks looked before grazing and then development changed them forever. The vegetation is primarily a mix of grassland and coastal scrub. Expect strong winds as you hike among plants such as coyote brush, lizard tail, pearly everlasting and lupine. The endangered Mission Blue Butterfly has adapted to the strong winds and flies low to the ground from lupine to lupine. Native plants provide habitat for brush-nesting birds like the white-crowned sparrow and animals such as brush rabbits and coyotes.
Twin Peaks is a must-see stop on your tour of San Francisco. Why? The view, the view, the view. This set of high peaks is located near the geographical center of the city, offering stunning 360-degree panoramic views of this beautiful city and the bay and ocean beyond. And you might be surprised to find that it offers a few other things to you as well.
The two peaks actually also have their own names: the North Peak is Eureka Peak and the South Peak is Noe Peak. This makes it an obvious choice for a scenic viewpoint. But it actually makes it an obvious choice for some more practical things as well, which is why you will find a handful of transmission towers up there. After all, it’s tough to get transmission signals in the lower hills of the area but those signals are nice and clear up there on the tall peak. You do notice them as you’re heading up to the peaks and you’ll see them up close while you’re up there but you’re honestly so distracted by the stunning views that they don’t take anything away from the aesthetics of the experience.
Christmas Tree Point lies some 70 ft (21 m) below the North Peak and offers vistas of San Francisco and San Francisco Bay. The view to the north extends no farther than Cobb Mountain 120 km away, but looking southeast down the Santa Clara Valley on a clear day, Santa Ana is just visible 143 km away.
To the north is one of the city's many reservoirs. It is owned by the San Francisco Fire Department, and supplies water to the Fire Department's independent HPFS water system for fighting fires, established after the 1906 earthquake and fire.
The top of Twin Peaks is undeveloped. It is part of the 31 acres (13 ha) Twin Peaks Natural Area, is managed and owned by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. These preserved areas are home to many natural resources and wildlife. As part of the Mission blue butterfly habitat conservation, Twin Peaks is one of the few remaining habitats for this endangered species. Many bird species, insects and vegetation thrive in these areas.
Things to do in SF!