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By Karen

Updated October 17, 2023.

Tank Hill

The Twin Peaks Alternative

Tank Hill is one of our insider secrets; even most locals haven't been up here. But the view of San Francisco is amazing and the tour buses are missing!

View of downtown San Francisco from Tank HillCity View from Tank Hill

Right near Twin Peaks is another little hill, tucked into an attractive San Francisco neighborhood.

The panorama isn't 360, but it's got a gorgeous view of downtown San Francisco, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can see across the bay to Oakland and Berkeley as well.

Not many people go there, so you may have it all to yourself. Even on a sunny weekend there may only be a couple of others there.

View of Golden Gate Bridge from Tank HillView Looking Towards the Bridge

Tank Hill sits at a 650 foot elevation, well below Twin Peaks at 922 feet, but the views are almost as good, I think, and much less crowded. Plus getting there is definitely easier, either driving and parking, or taking public transportation.

Map of Tank Hill, Twin Peaks and Mount Sutro in SFTank Hill, Twin Peaks and Mount Sutro
(Map data (c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA)

History of Tank Hill

Tank Hill gets its name from the water tank that used to be up there. The tank was built in 1894, then removed in 1957.

The little park on top of this rocky outcropping had a close call in 1977; developers wanted to put 20 houses up there, but fortunately the city purchased the land and turned it into a park.

Tank Hill from street belowTank Hill...Easy to Miss

Exploring Tank Hill

The park at the top is quite small, so it doesn't take long to see all of it.

Park on top of Tank HillTank Hill Park

The views are fantastic, and for the young at heart, there are two rope swings to play on. Unfortunately, the swings come and go, like many of the rope swings in San Francisco parks; you may get lucky and find them there!

Rope swing at Tank HillOne of the Rope Swings

Climbing the Hill

There are two ways to get up the hill: a wooden staircase and a path with rough wood and dirt steps.

The stairway. On Twin Peaks Boulevard at Crown Terrace, there is a short-ish staircase that takes you to the hilltop.

Wooden staircase leading up to Tank HillTank Hill Stairs

The path. On the other side of the hill, where Belgrave Avenue dead ends into the hill, there are a series of rustic steps that wind up to the top.

Rough steps up to Tank HillTank Hill Steps

Tip: I think the wooden staircase is the easier and much shorter climb.

Getting to Tank Hill

Either driving or walking, you can use "Tank Hill" to GPS it.

Directions for driving and walking:

By Car

Park either on Twin Peaks Boulevard, which runs along the side of the hill, or on Belgrave Avenue.

I suggest Twin Peaks Blvd; finding a parking place there is a lot easier and you can use the shorter stairs for the hill.

Twin Peaks Boulevard parking for Tank HillParking for Tank Hill

By Bus

Take the N-Judah muni streetcar from Market Street downtown (underground) and get off at Stanyan and Carl Streets. Walk to the end of Stanyan (south), then go left on Belgrave to the end of the street. It's about 8 blocks to walk it, and goes through a pretty neighborhood.

Or take the 37-Corbett bus to Clayton and 17th Street. Walk south on Clayton, then right on Twin Peaks Boulevard until you get to Crown Terrace where the stairs are. It's about three blocks.

You can catch the 37-Corbett bus at Market and Castro. From downtown, take one of the K, L, M or T Muni streetcars under Market Street, get off at the Castro Street stop, then take the 37-Corbett.

Map of bus and Muni stops for Tank HillMap of bus and Muni stops for Tank Hill SF
(Map data (c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA)

Tank Hill is just down from Twin Peaks. Across the street from the Tank Hill stairs, you can look up and see part of Twin Peaks where the towers are (and one of the tour buses, if you look closely).

View of Twin Peaks from Tank Hill parkingJust Below Twin Peaks

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If you want to explore this area with a guide, including Tank HillTwin Peaks and the magical Mount Sutro eucalyptus forest nearby, there's a walking tour that takes people to a number of neat spots in this area, along with a ride on the weird and fun Seward Slides.

To check out the Urban Hike, Castro & Twin Peaks tour, click here.

More great views...

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