“Hitch Hiking” #5! We Climb San Francisco’s Legendary Coit Tower! Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”!

Welcome To San Francisco’s Coit Tower!

While The Golden Gate Bridge may be San Francisco’s most iconic sight, the famous Coit Tower isn’t far behind…

Coit Tower is a 210-foot tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, built in 1933. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 29, 2008.

As part 4 of my “Hitch Hiking” series, my wife and I climbed this iconic tower to honor the classic Hitchcock thriller that used the tower in a very suggestive way!

The 400 Filbert Street Steps!

First, the “hike”.

When you approach the tower from the Fisherman’s Wharf area, you find a series of steps that will take you all the up to the tower – 400+ steps!

Of course, my wife Alex was eager to travel this way, so off we went on our climb…

There are many places to stop and look at the view, and houses with miniature gardens surround it as well – but no matter how many times you stop, THIS is still ahead of you:

It took about twenty minutes to navigate them all – and there are lots of people doing it around you as well…

Finally, you reach the top and the tower is, in fact, towering above you:

Not only is the tower beautiful, the location offers you spectacular views of San Francisco as well, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island!

Now that our “hike” was done, it was time to “hitch” a ride on one of the greatest films of all time!

Alfred Hitchcock’s Sensual Obsession!

Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Vertigo” has been in the list of the top ten fils ever made, even topping some of them…it stars James Stewart as a former police detective who wrestles with his personal demons while becoming obsessed with a hauntingly beautiful woman played by Kim Novak – here is the trailer:

Hitchcock filmed scenes in San Francisco, and the Director used the tower in a very unique way. In the film, Kim Novak uses the landmark to find Scottie’s apartment on Lombard Street.

The interior apartment scenes were filmed on a studio set, but Hitchcock wanted the tower shown prominently in the background through the apartment window. When art director Henry Bumstead questioned this, Hitchcock replied:

“Coit Tower is a phallic symbol.”

Well, OK then…

It’s a great psychological thriller, and our hike up to the tower was great exercise, and it pays off with spectacular views…if you are ever in San Francisco, I recommend you give Coit a climb!

I love sharing “hitch hiking” stories – this one was the 4th in the series: here are the first three, beginning with this hike:

Overlooking The Pacific Ocean!

Check out the view from Will Rogers State Park near Malibu by clicking here:


If you want a different kind of “Hitchcock” hike, maybe you want to try this:

“The Birds” Of Bodega Bay!

“Hitch hike” #2 took us near the location of Hitchcock’s classic shocker “The Birds” – you can see more here:


And maybe you want to get out and see nature – well, we have that for you as well:

Napa Valley Vineyards!

“Hitch hike” #3 took us through the vineyards of Napa Valley – you can see our “walk among the vineyards” here:


For “Hitch Hiking” part 4, we did another urban hike, this time through 196 blocks of New York’s Central Park:

Amazing scenery everywhere you look – see more here:


After reading about Hitchcock’s obsession, let me know if you’ll ever look at Coit Tower the same way again!

Categories: Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Exotic Travel, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Hollywood, Memoirs, Movies, nature, Obscure Movies, Pop Culture, Sports, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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25 replies

  1. Another cult film and hike. I was scared rotten whe I watched the film as I would be by those stairs….

  2. What an adventure! Very cool though. And certainly worth it once you get to the top for that view!

  3. That’s a lot of stairs to climb. I think the fire is totally worth it though!

    Rachael | https://rachaelstray.com/

  4. That is a helluva lot of stairs. Good work and I love the series!

    • Thanks so much for the comment! When we decided to do it, it didn’t seem so bad, but once you start the climb it goes on and on and on….but, because they are a mix of wooden stairs and short blocks, it gave us a lot of time to see what was around us, which changed constantly…again, thanks for the note!

  5. As always, the pictures are great, they really take you there. Looks like a great spot to visit.

    • Thanks for reading! We didn’t really think about how many stairs there were until we were in it, and then we had to finish, but the views of SF Bay, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge made it worth it – thanks for the comment!

  6. So in fact Hitchcock though of it as ‘Coitus’ rather than Coit Tower 😉. I love your hiking the movie series and this was no exception.

  7. Hmm, my comment didn’t appear. Don’t tell me I am in Span again!

  8. I love that Art Deco tower, less so the film. Kim is always good to look at though. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  9. Love this series John and I love San Francisco too! Maybe sometime I’ll make it to the top of that tower!


  1. “Hitch” Hiking #7! Arizona’s “Papago Park”! Hitchcock’s “Strangers On A Train!” – johnrieber
  2. “Hitch Hiking!” Here Are 8 Great Hikes! 8 Classic Alfred Hitchcock Thrillers! – johnrieber

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