- Hiking, Natural Wonders Type
- 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
If you want to experience the Bay Area's pristine natural spaces but may not have enough time to explore neighboring Marin County, the Presidio is the perfect alternative. This park is famous for its placement at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge, affording incredible views throughout. In addition to stunning vantage points, the Presidio features 12 scenic hiking trails that vary from easy to challenging, taking hikers through beautiful Bay Area scenery (think: coastal forest and the Marin Headlands).
The most popular trail is both its shortest and most challenging – the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. This trail features elevation changes along the shoreline of the Presidio's undeveloped western shoreline. From here, hikers can get an eyeful of not only the bridge and the bay but the Marin Headlands as well. There's also the longer 2 ½-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail, which also ends at the Golden Gate but unlike the Batteries to Bluffs Trail, features more coastal woodland scenery in between. For more Pacific Ocean views, stick to the nearly 3-mile-long California Coastal Trail, which starts at Baker Beach.
Travelers had little complaints with the Presidio's offerings. Many said it's a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, whether for a hike or a trip to one of the park's many museums and exhibits. Families strongly recommended coming here if not for a hike then a picnic. Some suggested bringing a jacket with you regardless of the season; the closer you are to the bay, the windier and cooler the temperature will be.
You can find the Presidio on the northernmost tip of San Francisco, about 3 miles west of Fisherman's Wharf near the Golden Gate Bridge. You can reach the Presidio via several Muni bus lines, including Nos. 28, 29 and 43. There is also the PresidiGo shuttle, a free shuttle that takes visitors to and around the park from downtown San Francisco. The downtown pickup points include the Transbay Terminal, the Embarcadero BART and Union Street/Van Ness Avenue. Access to the Presidio is free and available 24/7, though several facilities within the park operate set hours, including the visitor center. For more information, visit the National Park Service website.
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