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From the redwood forests of Muir Woods, to the historic fortifications on the Presidio Bluffs, to the coastal bluffs of Mori Point, the Golden Gate National Parks support a vast array of landscapes and sites.

In honor of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, more than 100 backpackers (70 of them youth participants) trekked from July 21-24 through these parklands, exploring the sites and stories along the way and sharing the joys of outdoor adventure.

The trip was composed of two teams, one starting in Marin County and going south, and the other starting in San Mateo County and heading north. Both teams spent four days and three nights following the trails though these stunning and diverse national parks.

The participants were supported by a range of park partners and youth advocates, who joined them on various legs of this journey. On the final day, the two teams converged on Crissy Field for a public celebration.

Feeling inspired? Plan your own adventure in the Golden Gate National Parks on our Trails page.

Blog: Relive the Packing the Parks Adventure

High Fives at Crissy Field

Recap of Day 4 >>
The North and South teams finally met up on the fourth and final day of Packing the Parks and marched triumphantly along the sun-kissed promenade to Crissy Field Center.
Sunday, July 24, 2016 at 10:06 p.m.

North and South Teams meet up for the first time in this 4-day hike

Photos from Day 4 >>
The North and South Teams meet up for the first time during this 4-day adventure and hike down to Crissy Field together.
Sunday, July 24, 2016 at 2:26 p.m.

Day 4

Day 4 >>
The teams are ready to embark to their final destination--Crissy Field. The northern hikers will finally mingle with the southern hikers at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center--it’ll be the first time on the hike that they are together!
Sunday, July 24, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.

HIking at Ocean Beach

Recap of Day 3 >>
The third day of Packing the Parks began with an enormous surprise: a humpback whale sighting.
Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 11:59 p.m.

Chat about geology

Photos from Day 3 >>
The South Team learn about erosion and sea level rise on Esplanade Beach.
Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 9:56 p.m.

Day 3

Day 3 >>
The North Team adventurers will take the Tennessee Valley Trail to the rugged coastline of Rodeo Beach while South Team will will hike to Fort Funston, then go along Ocean Beach all the way to Sutro Baths.
Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.

Recap of Day 2

Recap of Day 2 >>
Across the board, all the hikers, Rangers, and staff relayed the same sentiment: being in nature and sharing this with a cohort made them feel plugged in with a common love of the outdoors.
Friday, July 22, 2016 at 8:44 p.m.

North team at lunch

Photos from Day 2 >>
The South Team hikes up Sweeney Ridge while the North Team has Wi-Fi for the first time.
Friday, July 22, 2016 at 7:23 p.m.

Day 2

Day 2 >>
Rise and shine! From Alice Eastwood Campground, North Team will head to the Redwood Creek Trail. South Team will breakdown camp at Sanchez Adobe County Park before heading to the Portola Discovery Site on Sweeney Ridge.
Friday, July 22, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.

Packing the Parks Day 1 Recap

Recap of Day 1 >>
The North and South teams arrived at their destinations with some sore knees, a couple of blisters, and a tremendous sense of triumph.
Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 10:37 p.m.

PTP Day 1 photos

Photos from Day 1 >>
The South Team stopped for lunch at McNee Ranch while the California Alpine Club brought lemonade and cookies for the North Team at lunch at Pantoll Station.
Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 4:25 p.m.

Day 1

Day 1 >>
The North Team hikers will beginning the ascent to their campsite (Alice Eastwood Campground) along the scenic Dipsea Trail, soaking in the ocean views all along the way.
Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.

Packing the Parks media team

Meet the Packing the Parks Media Team >>
Broadcasting to you live in amazing technicolor: Packing the Parks! Our team will bring you first-hand accounts of this once-in-a-lifetime journey through these parklands in our backyard.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

Follow The Adventure With #PacktheParks




Transformative Youth Programs at Golden Gate

Packing the Parks is representative of the inspirational youth programs that provide powerful new experiences—and change lives—every day in the Golden Gate National Parks.

In 2015, about 63,000 young people were served by programming from the Park Youth Collaborative (composed of the Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Presidio Trust) and our affiliated park partners.

Just a sampling of Parks Conservancy programs for students of all ages:


During the Parks Conservancy's intensive, six-week summer internship program (supported by our Park Stewardship team), high school students participate in service projects across the Golden Gate National Parks, learn about ecological and restoration sciences, and develop career and leadership skills.

Crissy Field Center

The Parks Conservancy's award-winning urban environmental education center—in partnership with the NPS and Presidio Trust—serves students (K–12) through a suite of innovative and experiential programs, including summer camps, school field trips, community outreach initiatives, and more.


Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders—a program of the Parks Conservancy's Crissy Field Center—cultivates the next generation of social and environmental advocates by supporting high school interns as they initiate, develop, and complete their own service projects within the community.

Urban Trailblazers

Designed for middle school students, Urban Trailblazers is a Parks Conservancy/Crissy Field Center program that introduces diverse youth to the outdoors through hands-on restoration projects, environmental lessons, and excursions across our national parks.

Camping at the Presidio (CAP)

Based at Rob Hill Campground, the Parks Conservancy's CAP trains teachers and community group leaders to bring their kids on an authentic camping trip (for many youngsters, it’s their first experience!). CAP is run in partnership with Bay Area Wilderness Training, the NPS, and Presidio Trust.

Project WISE

In the Parks Conservancy's partnership with Galileo Academy of Science and Technology (and other San Francisco high schools), environmental science students design and conduct ecological research projects in the Presidio, leveraging their national park as a classroom and lab.

Academic Internships

Students from diverse backgrounds at San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, and College of Marin gain invaluable experience with the Parks Conservancy while working across Golden Gate in a variety of roles and receiving attentive mentorship and career guidance.