Choosing a good hiking route in the Presidio is like picking a great restaurant in San Francisco; there are so many excellent options! But this 2.5-mile loop in the Presidio’s southwest corner takes you through restored sand dunes, up to a great vantage, and hits plenty of classic highlights along the way. Start at the recently renovated Lobos Creek Valley and stroll the half-mile boardwalk through the sand dunes and beside San Francisco’s last free-flowing stream; the native plant and wildlife in this pocket of the Presidio shows what San Francisco looked like hundreds of years ago. Exit the valley and walk up through a cypress forest before connecting to Battery Caulfield Road; it’s lightly used and the only road you’ll walk on during this route. Join the Anza Trail and soon you’ll be greeted by wide views of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate at Immigrant Point Overlook. Descend an S-shaped wooden stairway down to the famed Sand Ladder (pictured)—much easier going down than up! Keep an eye out for low-flying red-tail hawks looking for their next meals. At Baker Beach hang a left and walk a quarter-mile to the parking area next to the Lobos Creek trailhead. Pure Presidio pleasure.
Park at the Lobos Creek Valley parking lot across from Baker Beach on Lincoln Blvd. Walk the boardwalk for a half-mile. Exit the valley and turn right, going slightly uphill toward the former public health service hospital. At Wedemeyer St. and Hays St,. go left and follow the road for a quarter-mile. The road ends at Washington Blvd.; turn left and go 200 feet. Find the Anza Trail on the right side of the road; this goes to Immigrant Point Overlook. Find the Connector Trail to the left of the overlook. Follow the signs to the Coastal Trail (not Baker Beach). This takes you to the Sand Ladder, which descends to Baker Beach. Walk a quarter-mile on the beach and make a left at the yellow callbox. Go into the parking lot and cross the street to return to Lobos Creek Valley. No dogs in Lobos Creek Valley.