Presidio Ecology Trail and Lovers’ Lane

4-star hike.
2 mile loop • Easy difficulty.
Elevation 20-100 feet. Gain 200 feet.
San Francisco, Northern California.
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You’ll likely find more locals than visitors on this trail that loops around the Southeast part of the expansive San Francisco Presidio, and you could fill a complete day exploring attractions just off this route.

Pre-dating San Francisco, the Presidio was established as a military location since 1776 and remained an active base until 1994 when it was transferred to the National Park Service. The park is now home to residents who occupy the former military housing, recreational playing fields, golf courses and a commercial center that among others houses Lucasfilm offices – where you can search out the Yoda fountain!

The Presidio provides much for nature lovers also, not the least of which is the first part of our hike – the Ecology Trail, which passes through grasslands, redwood groves, and the Tennessee Hollow watershed before reaching the parade grounds of the Presidio.

The Ecology Trail leads you to many off-trail areas worth exploring, including the Walt Disney Museum, the Palace of Fine Arts, the birder’s favorite Crissy Field Marsh, Crissy Field Beaches with classic views of the Golden Gate, and the new for Spring 2022 Tunnel Tops Park constructed over the now undergrounded Presidio Parkway.

Don’t forget to stop off at Inspiration Point to admire the views over the San Francisco Bay. This is also an alternative trailhead, but only if you’re lucky enough to find a parking space at this popular spot.

Complete our loop with an almost arrow-straight stroll down Lovers’ Lane – the Presidio’s oldest footpath, which was established by 18th century soldiers and missionaries to travel between the Presidio and Mission Dolores (the other major pre-San Francisco outpost). Running parallel to the East of this footpath you’ll find Wood Line – a curious zig-zagging art installation to please the eye, and balance upon.

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