Filbert Steps ascend the e. side of Telegraph Hill. The stairs begin at the foot of Filbert Street (at Sansome Street); look for the sign that says “Steps to Coit Tower.” They rise in three sections and are wood as far up as Montgomery Street; the higher you climb, the better the views of San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge and Alcatraz Island, although the vista is always partially obscured by the luxuriant vegetation filling the backyard gardens of houses perched on either side of the steps. This lush, leafy enclave is a lovely retreat removed from the bustle of the city below.
The steps end at Telegraph Hill Boulevard, the road that encircles the base of Coit Tower. For a different perspective, take the parallel Greenwich Steps back down the hill (a sign in the Coit Tower parking area points the way to the head of the steps). There are more gardens and exotic flowering plants along these steps, and less huffing and puffing is involved.