Golden Gate Park - West
Get to know the west end of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park like a local.
5 day trips along with 3 bonus outings that let you explore the west end of the park.
With bits of history to let you know the bigger picture of where you are
and why the park is such a remarkable place.
Spend the day strolling around the far west end of Golden Gate Park.
Visit two giant windmills
Play in the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip garden
Stroll along an abandon streetcar right of way
Learn about the Gjøa, the first ship to navigate the northwest passage
Enjoy a glass of house brewed root beer at the Beach or Park Chalet
Finish up with some play time in the Blue Boat Playground
This mostly flat (just under) 2 mile hike is a nice loop along a partly paved and some dirt path is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Learn a bit of history, walk around with your loved ones, and build memories that will last a lifetime.
Portals of the Past & Rainbow Falls
A great stretch of the legs taking you past many locally famous spots around the park.
- Starting at old Speedway Meadows
- Stroll through the Polo Fields
- Enter the Portals of the Past, and walk around Lloyd Lake
- Follow the small waterfall from Lloyd Lake to it's source at Rainbow Falls
- Climb to the top of the falls to get a glimpse of the Prayerbook Cross
- Then stroll back down Middle Drive (somewhat closed to cars)
- Visit one more small waterfall at Mallard Lake before arriving back a the car
A 3.5 mile walk with a 250 foot elevation gain.
Spreckeled Bison Loop
- Start at Spreckels Lake to watch the model boats sail
- Take a half mile stroll around the lake
- Poke your head into the San Francisco Model Yacht Clubhouse
(one of the oldest clubs of this kind)
- Pass by the Petanque courts and watch dogs play at the exercise area
- Around the back of the Bison Paddock
- Over to the Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club
to see the people practice fly fishing
- Then up past the SFPD horse stables and the closed Equestrian Center at the Polo Fields
A flat 2 mile loop past many notable attractions in the park
Bridle Path Walk
Up until the early 2000's, horses were a mainstay in the Golden Gate Park. Originally this was the primary way to visit the park before people had automobiles. In day's long gone by, polo was actually played in the Polo Fields, you could rent a horse to take around the park, watch a rodeo at Bercut Equitation Field, and many miles of trail are set up as bridle paths throughout the park. Currently the only horses to reside in Golden Gate Park belong to the SFPD, and are used for special patrols and crowd control. The SF Park and Recreation Department have plans to to bring the public stables back at some point when they can raise the funding to do so. Occasionally they do small trial runs of horse rentals in the park.
A day on the Archery Range
Maybe you tried some archery at camp as a kid, or you've just been curious to try it out. Golden Gate Park offers a small public archery range near the 47th avenue entrance (from the Richmond side). Rent your equipment from the nearby SF Archers shop (they will even give you a quick lesson), then show up at the range and wait for an open target. Get your inner Katniss Everdeen going. This is a great outing for older kids and adults alike.
We are including 3 bonus sections in this book. These 3 outings are just a little north of Golden Gate Park:
Cliff House & Sutro Baths
Sutro Heights Park
Take a nice walk around these historic places and find out what made them so famous.