Twin Peaks

Photo by: Octoferret, CC

The Twin Peaks in San Francisco are a frequently visited landmark in this legendary city. The two hills that comprise the twin peaks have an elevation of roughly 922 feet. They are located close to the center of the city. Only Mount Davidson is a higher point in San Francisco.


Long before Twin Peaks became a modern tourist attraction and even before any European settlers first set foot on them, these hills were used by the Ohlone tribe as a hunting ground as well as a lookout point. Many plants were also cultivated at the hills as well. When the Spanish conquistadors first arrived at the hills in the early 1700’s, they gave the hills the name “The Breasts of the Indian Maiden.” They soon cultivated the region for ranching. In the 19th century, Spain lost control of the geographic area to the Americans and the hills were renamed the Twin Peaks. Today, the peaks each have their own name. The North hill, is known as the Eureka Peak. The South hill is called Noe Peak. The North is home to the water reservoirs of the hills and the water is made available to the city fire department. This water source was established after the 1906 earthquake and fire, a disaster that destroyed most of the city.

Unique Climate

The two peaks are about 660 feet apart from one another. This creates a divide offering an adequate amount of space for coastal fog from the Pacific Ocean to roll in and settle. The fog, along with strong winds, is more common on the west side of the slopes. On the east, a greater amount of sun is experienced and this contributes to the warmer and sunnier climate here. Unfortunately, there is sandy soil all throughout the peaks which creates a greater potential for erosion. The Twin Peaks have not yet suffered enough erosion that the landmark is facing a crisis.

A Modern Tourist Attraction

The rich cultural history and the unique wonders of the natural world associated with the hills has led them to become a much visited tourist attraction. Those who reach the 100 foot mark of the North Point will reach Christmas Tree Point. The view from this point allows visitors to see all of the city as well as the San Francisco Bay. Interestingly, the summit of these peaks has never been fully developed. At the summit, much of the land mass comprises the Twin Peaks Natural Area, which serves as the habitat for a great deal of wildlife.

Surrounding Neighborhood

The neighborhood around the hills is also known as Twin Peaks. Those traveling through the locality can drive through the Muni Metro Twin Peaks Tunnel to reach Downtown San Francisco. The base of Twin Peaks is home to a San Francisco Police Department Academy.

The Twin Peaks uniquely show that the natural world can coexist with a major metropolitan city. The uniqueness of the hills certainly contributes to the interest tourists from around the world have in it.

San Francisco Famous Landmarks

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