As the weather around San Francisco turns cool and wet, the fog clears, animals are on the move, and the hills come alive. These hikes highlighting the area’s wild side are worthwhile anytime, but they especially deliver in winter.
See migrating animals.
Most of the year, male and female elephant seals travel separately in the deep ocean. So when they rejoin to mate in winter, it’s party time. In December and January, visitors to Año Nuevo Natural Preserve who join a naturalist-led three-mile walk can watch 4,000–5,000-pound bulls bump chests as they battle for dominance.
Also try: A three-mile loop at Hayward Regional Shoreline leads past tidal Cogswell Marsh, which teems with birds heading south.