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Steps to take for your health — and your pleasure

There are hundreds of outdoor stairways in San Francisco and more just outside the city. Some take you through lush forests, others past historic architecture, and many to lovely views — all while giving you a pretty good cardio workout. Here are just a few worth scaling.

Ambling by Architecture 
San Francisco (Russian Hill)
Opposite 1251 Lombard, find the Culebra Terrace Stairway, a lush throughway with shrubbery and flowers that passes charming cottages. Upon emerging into the Chestnut Street cul-de-sac, take a right up the shady Chestnut stairway, which brings you to a landing with a view of the Palace of Fine Arts. From there, walk up the left-hand stairway to see the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Magic Stairway 
San Francisco (Sunset)
This brilliantly colored mosaic tile stair is at 16th Avenue and Moraga. Upon reaching the fifth landing, you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Indian Rock Park
Berkeley hills
Dick Leonard, the “father of modern rock climbing,” developed his mountaineering techniques here. But even casual hikers can get to the peak, which affords panoramic views of San Francisco, Oakland and the bay, as one side offers a gentle incline with stone steps. The park is at 950 Indian Rock Ave. at Shattuck Avenue.

Cleveland Cascade
Popular among fitness runners and casual amblers alike, this long, multitiered stairway near Lake Merritt ascends through lush beds, including flowering plants with vibrant blooms. It offers lake views, and its handrails are lighted with LED lights for nighttime strolls. The stairway begins from Lakeshore Avenue, from between Boden Way and Cleveland Cascade.

Dipsea Trail Stairs
Mill Valley
Primed for a challenge? Hit the Dipsea Trail on Mount Tam, with flights of stairs that ascend the height of a 50-story building. The stairs take you into the verdant forest and, if you continue along the trail, across Redwood Creek and to bay views. To locate the steps, find the intersection of Cascade Drive, Cascade Way and Molino Avenue, then head up Cascade Way, keeping an eye out for the Dipsea Trail signs on trees.