These are hiking books I own:
The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book
by Tom Taber
This books dates to the mid-70s with gazillion updates. It mentions pretty much every dirt path from A to Z from San Francisco to Santa Cruz.
Taber includes maps of all the parks and open space preserves, plus a generous helping of local lore and history (included: the story of the man who killed the last grizzly bear in the mountains.)
My other two books were freebies from work; this is the only one I actually paid for. Worth every penny.
Foghorn Outdoors’ California Hiking
by Tom Stienstra and Ann Marie Brown
This one doesn’t quite have a gazillion trails but does have over a thousand.
No trail maps here, but it does have nice capsule reviews of trails within specific parks. Invaluable for places like Yosemite and Lassen, with vast choices where you need a clue to the must-sees.
It does happen to be co-written by that other Tom from the Chron, but I have to give him his props here (even in the certain knowledge the favor will never be returned — what kind of outdoors writer never drops a note to say “hi” to his colleagues in the biz?) … I’ve turned to this title dozens of times.
Hiking Marin, 141 Great Trails in Marin County
By Don and Kay Martin
This book has an online component that allows you to download maps that accompany the hikes. Very handy.
Of course you could just carry the book: the online maps reproduce those in the book’s pages. It’s not that heavy.
This book mainly is a reminder of how much I need to suck it up, buy the gas and just drive up to Marin. It includes pretty much every trail worth hiking, as near as I can tell. It’s especially handy for the Dipsea/Matt Davis routes at Mount Tamalpais … it’s pretty easy to get lost up there in the spiderweb of trails on the mountain.
My most shameful confession is that I haven’t gotten around to buying Jane Huber’s book: “60 hikes within 60 miles of San Francisco.”
So, what are your recommendations?