The older it gets the more interesting San Francisco’s Presidio becomes. See some of its best features on a scenic 2.7-mile multi-use stretch of the planned 550-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail (currently, over 340 miles are complete). This easygoing urban hike or bike ride delivers bay and bridge views, eucalyptuses galore, and a visit to the San Francisco National Cemetery. Begin in a fragrant eucalyptus forest. The ivy on the tree trunks climbs so high you almost expect to see nymphs around every bend. The dirt trail passes the Spire, a 97-foot-tall log-derived art installation that pays homage to the reforestation of the region, with views of Alcatraz and the San Francisco cityscape behind it. Continue on, making a quick 375-foot detour to the San Francisco National Cemetery, where 30,000 soldiers, sailors, and marines are memorialized with white pillar tombstones before a magnificent vista of the Golden Gate Bridge. Back on the path, you’ll continue through some trail renovations and past the Presidio military housing until you land at the Pacific Overlook. Gull-engulfed cliffs and thrashing waves spill into sight. Your hike ends at the Golden Gate Overlook, a seating area that frames the Golden Gate Bridge from a southwest vantage point.
BONUS: The Presidio hosts Film in the Fog, a free outdoor movie, this Saturday, September 28. Food trucks and live music start at 5:30 p.m. (or you can bring your own picnic) followed by the movie Babe at 7:30 p.m. (that’s Babe the charming little pig!). If you go on a Sunday, swing by Off the Grid: Picnic at the Presidio, located about 1.5 miles west of the Golden Gate Overlook. Sprawl out on a plush lawn and indulge in the delicious food truck fortress.
This leg of the Bay Area Ridge Trail departs from Arguello Gate, located at 24 Arguello Blvd. in San Francisco (map). When you reach the Golden Gate Overlook, return the way you came or venture on toward Off the Grid. Off the Grid is located on the Main Post Lawn in the Presidio, Sundays 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., rain or shine. Dog-friendly!