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Presidio’s Greatest Lists: Five Ways to Experience the Presidio’s Trails

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 Category Recreation and Wellness

​Did you know the Presidio offers 24 miles of trails? Here are five ideas for experiencing the trails like you never have before.


Take a Guided Art Hike

Guided Art Hikes
Photo by Charity Vargas.

Did you know the Presidio is home to the largest collection of Andy Goldsworthy sculptures on public view in North America? Fascinated by the Presidio's interplay of city and nature, people and place, the built environment and wild open spaces, between 2008 and 2014 Goldsworthy created four installations – Spire, Wood Line, Tree Fall, and Earth Wall. Get the story behind these creations, all made with natural materials from right here in the Presidio. It might allow you to see the park in a whole new way.

Download the map in the Goldsworthy in the Presidio brochure.

Go Solo with a Self-Guided Hike

Visitors at El Polin Spring on a sunny day

Some of the best adventures are the ones where you grab a snack and a jug of water and set off on your own. But where to go? Here’s an idea – the Tennessee Hollow Watershed Walk – reveals a true Presidio treasure. This walk traces a two-mile section of the park’s largest watershed where for the past 15 years restoration projects have brought habitats back to life. Along the way, you’ll learn about significant people and moments in Presidio history. So download and go!

Download the self-guided Tennessee Hollow Watershed Walk >>

Take a Walk Back in Time - Literally

The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail commemorates the 1776 journey Spanish military commander de Anza led from Sonora, Mexico to the Golden Gate, where colonial settlers first established the Presidio as a military post. The last 2.7 miles of this epic 1,200 mile journey trace the expedition’s final steps from where they camped at Mountain Lake to where they peered out over the coastal bluffs toward the great bay (see image). Take a hike on this trail and imagine what the members of this expedition might have seen so long ago.

Learn more about the Juan de Anza National Historic Trail in the Presidio >>

Photo Credit: National Park Service, De Anza Trail, David Rickman Illustrations of the Anza Expedition. Juan Bautista de Anza, Father Pedro Font, Lt. Jose Joaquin Moraga and other members of the Anza’s exploring party reaching the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, March 27, 1776.

A Trail for Everyone

Accessible Trail users

The Presidio is for everyone, and this three-mile loop provides incredible access no matter your mode of travel: foot, bike, wheelchair, or stroller. The loop showcases the best of the Presidio and includes portions of six trails: the Bay Area Ridge Trail, Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, California Coastal Trail, Presidio Promenade, Bay Trail, and Park Trail. Along the way you'll enjoy gentle slopes and firm surfaces, forest groves, historic buildings, and views of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Explore this loop through this PDF map >>

Volunteer to Repair – or Share – the Presidio's Natural Areas

Family of volunteers in the Presidio

One of the best ways to experience the Presidio’s trails is through stewardship of the surrounding landscapes. Our stewardship volunteers restore and preserve the forests and natural areas of the Presidio.

Learn more about Volunteering in the Presidio >>