Find Your Path: Accessible Trails in the Golden Gate National Parks

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Boardwalk trail along Redwood Creek through Muir Woods

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) surrounds the bustling, urban setting of San Francisco. The national parks are so close, so easy to enjoy. But for a number of folks with disabilities, these trails can be intimidating. 

Here is a list of our top accessible trails you can enjoy on your next visit to the Bay Area or if you’re a local, on your next weekend: 

Fort Mason Great Meadow Trail 
Right outside GGNRA headquarters at upper Fort Mason lies the Great Meadow—beloved by locals as one of San Francisco’s “backyards” to lounge, picnic, and soak up views of the iconic bridge (on the fog-free days when you can do that, of course). This easy 0.5-mile trail also has the dramatic statue of Phillip Burton—the congressman who helped establish this amazing national park, back in the early 1970s—so you can take a moment and pay your respects. 

More: 
https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/fort-mason-great-meadow-trail.htm 
https://www.parksconservancy.org/trails/great-meadow-paths-trail

Batteries Loop Trail
This flat, loop trail can be easily accessed from the Battery Alexander parking area and offers beautiful views from every direction—the Pacific Ocean, waves crashing upon Rodeo Beach, and sometimes even the Farallon Islands. Interestingly, this trail was originally constructed as a jeep road between the gun batteries but has since been narrowed to accommodate changes in use.

More: 
https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/batteries-loop-trail.htm
https://www.parksconservancy.org/trails/batteries-loop-trail

Crissy Field Promenade
Restored in 2001, Crissy Field quickly became a local favorite backyard. The former military airfield sports a clean, smooth promenade with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the North and East Bays. It’s the perfect spot to relax, picnic, or just soak in the views. 

More: 
https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/crissy-field-promenade.htm  
https://www.parksconservancy.org/trails/crissy-field-waterfront-walk

Old Mori Trail
This trail is easily accessible by car, bike, or SamTrans bus lines. The 1971 movie “Harold and Maude” was filmed at Mori Point bluff and the 0.5-mile Old Mori Trail is easy for a wheelchair hike. Thanks to community volunteers, you can see California red-legged frogs on either side of the boardwalk and a restored habitat for the San Francisco garter snake, once North America’s most endangered reptile. By the time you get to that famous bluff where Harold drives his Jaguar off the cliff in the movie, you’re rewarded by spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, Mori Point, and the black sands of Sharp Park Beach. 

More:
https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/old-mori-trail.htm  
https://www.parksconservancy.org/trails/old-mori-trail

Muir Woods Main Trail
Muir Woods is a peaceful and accessible destination, with different options for all skill levels and abilities. It starts with accessible parking and restrooms near the Visitor Center. At the Visitor Center, you can request assistive listening devices for Ranger-led tours or an audio device with a recording of the Muir Woods brochure. The Visitor Center also provides a copy of the Muir Woods brochure in Braille along with a Braille Trail Map. Enjoy the mostly flat Main Trail through the redwoods of the Bohemian Grove and Cathedral Grove, or try a number of offshoot hiking options through the woods.

More:
https://www.nps.gov/muwo/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm
http://wheelchairtraveling.com/muir-woods-national-monument-by-san-franc...
https://www.parksconservancy.org/parks/muir-woods-national-monument

Presidio Park Trail
Overall, there are 24 miles of trails in the Presidio. The Presidio Park trail runs north to south right down the middle of the Presidio and intersects with the Presidio Golf Course before entering the historic forest of eucalyptus, Monterey pine, and Monterey cypress. The trail then winds along to the National Cemetery Overlook—a quiet, reflective space—and finally concludes at the northern waterfront at Crissy Field. 

More:
https://www.presidio.gov/trails/park-trail 
https://www.parksconservancy.org/projects/park-trail

Other resources about accessible trails: 
Beach Wheelchairs/Beach Access: 
https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/beach-wheelchairs.htm 

Ashley Lynn Olson’s website on Golden Gate National Recreation Area park sites: 
http://wheelchairtraveling.com/?s=golden+gate  

You can see a list of all our trails here:
https://www.parksconservancy.org/trails/golden-gate-national-recreation-...

Veda Banerjee is director, communications & digital marketing for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.