Ridge Trail at SF's Presidio
If you find yourself in San Francisco and restless at the end of the day, consider the Presidio's portion of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, the planned 550-mile trail through the hills around the Bay. To hike the Presidio's trail segment, head into the historic forest from Arguello Boulevard, amid Monterey cypress and pines and swaying blue gum eucalyptus.
On your right is Andy Goldsworthy's Spire, a tower of felled trees created in tribute to the surrounding forest. The path from here is cool and quiet. In the distance you'll see the Palace of Fine Arts and sailboats on the Bay. Presidio's Washington Boulevard is just below, but it's easy to be deceived by the calm forest and the calls of the chestnut-backed chickadees and barn swallows. More than 300 species of birds have been seen here; listen for some of them along the way--perhaps even a great horned owl hooting in the trees. As you walk, you'll pass nasturtiums mingling with the ivy, climbing up the eucalyptus.
After the Rob Hill Campground, follow the trail to the right. Cross Washington Boulevard and walk left to the World War II Memorial overlook. Here you'll be rewarded with a view of the sunset over the ocean (and lots of wind, so bring an extra layer).
Getting there: Find the trail to the right of the Presidio Golf Course and Clubhouse parking lot off Arguello Boulevard in San Francisco.
Written by Bay Nature Institute.