Exploring Nature in the Presidio

Photo of blue skies and lush trees in the Presidio

This nature walk to El Polin Spring to the Andy Goldsworthy Woodline is so serene that you can hear the birds chirping and the frogs croaking along the way. There are tons of different plants blooming and it’s relaxing to literally stop and smell the flowers. Tucked in the hills of the Presidio, this route also explores some of the lesser known secret spots like the Yoda fountain and the Community Gardens!

This is a great run or walk and it’s perfect for kids who love to explore the outdoors. 

El Polin to the Woodline (3 miles)

  • Park at Sports Basement Presidio for free and head toward Tennessee Hollow Watershed by the YMCA to enjoy the vocal stylings of the local frogs and birds. I originally had headphones on but they were so loud I just decided to listen to the beautiful sounds instead! 
  • Follow MacArthur Blvd. Take a detour on Lover’s Lane and soak in the sights at the MacArthur Meadow Bridge before continuing on MacArthur to the El Polin Parking lot. Sometimes you can see the beautiful herons that hang out at the meadow!

    Photo of a bright blue pond at Macarthur Meadows in the Presidio

    • Explore the Community Garden adjacent to the parking lot and challenge yourself (or your kids) to identify some of the veggies growing! Some of these plants are grown and utilized by Presidio Foods restaurants.

    Photo of the community garden at the Presidio, with ordered planter boxes and planting stakes in rows.

    • From here you can add Inspiration Point (1 mile) or explore El Polin Spring and this secret shady picnic spot. Follow the main trail uphill, make a left at the Paul Goode Field and follow it to the top of the Woodline.
    Photo of the El Polin Spring encircled by a brick ring.
      • From here you can walk the winding route down the Woodline until it connects to Presidio Blvd.

      Photo of Rachel selfieing in front of the Woodline in the Presidio

      • Cross over to Letterman Drive and stretch it out at the Yoda Foundation before heading back!

      Photo of the Yoda Fountain outside the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio

      ADD ON: Inspiration Point and The Spire (1 mile)

      • Take this trail up the steps at El Polin and enjoy epic views at Inspiration Point and the unique point of view of Andy Goldsworthy’s installation The Spire.

      Photo of the trail sign leading to Inspiration Point

      ADD ON:  Crissy Field Loop (2 miles)

      • Put this on the beginning or end of your trip if you want a longer stroll. Bird watch at Crissy Field Marsh and enjoy stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the San Francisco Bay Trail.


        • mikekloepfer1@gmail.com says... I did the hike today in the Presidio and enjoyed it very much. Gorgeous weather and views.

          Thank you.

          On March 21, 2020
        • Karen says...

          Thank you! I’m heading out to do this RIGHT NOW!!!!

          On March 20, 2020

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