Ecology Trail In the Presidio
(scroll to bottom for photo gallery)
Inspiration Point to Main Post, Presidio, San Francisco
Inspiration Point, a short distance into the Presidio on Arguello Blvd., just past Arguello Gate. Parking available at Inspiration Point, with the Ecology Trail trailhead starting from the right side of the parking lot when facing the Bay.
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Ecology Trail information (Presidio Trust):
Presidio Trail map link (Presidio Trust):
PresidiGoShuttle map link (Presidio Trust):
Inspiration Point information link (Presidio Trust):
Presidio General information (Presidio Trust):
Presidio General information (National Park Service):
The Ecology Trail is noted as 1.4 miles of easy to moderate walking, with minor stairs and inclines.
• Parking at Inspiration Point parking lot. The free PresidiGo Shuttle also stops at Inspiration Point.
• Poison oak: Steer clear, and keep a scrub like Technu handy.
• Dogs allowed on leash.
• Pay attention to wildlife postings, particularly coyote updates.
• No toilet facilities along the trail, but there are options the Presidio Golf Course and Presidio Officers’ Club, as well as other locations at the Main Post.
Many people find San Francisco’s Presidio, a military site turned national park visiting area, to be confusing to drive in, and confusing to walk in. That makes it hard for many people to get started.
There are many wonderful places to hike and visit in the Presidio, many of them free. There is also a great free shuttle service (see link above) that takes visitors from place to place.
HikingAutism will introduce the Presidio in small, digestible sections. Bit by bit, visitors can expand their horizons and link up one familiar section to another.
The Ecology Trail is a nice starting point. We like to start at Inspiration Point, a vista stopping point with a parking lot (no toilet facilities at the parking lot, see Considerations above for toilet availability references), which offers a grand view across the bay with Alcatraz in plain view. After enjoying this introductory view across the bay, look for the trailhead at the right side of the parking lot as you face the bay.
A wooden stairway leads in a curve down past a tree which marks the option turn right or left.
Turn left onto the Ecology Trail. This pretty path ambles through open field views to the right, a hilly field view to the left, and then drops down to a tree tunnel stretch marked by redwood trees. The contrast between the open fields and the darker forest area is always a great visual and sensory stimulation.
The forest section continues on into a more eucalyptus tree filled stretch, and then opens out at Hardie and Funston streets at the edge of the Main Post. From this point, we usually walk past the historic Inn at the Presidio and turn left toward the Main Post. There are many things to see there, mostly free, including Andy Goldsworthy displays in more than one location, the Presidio Officer’s Club filled with interesting historical information and exhibits, and the Presidio Visitor Center (toilet facilities by the transportation center). There are also wonderful paid entry sites like the Walt Disney Family Museum.
We often choose this walk when we need an easy but pleasant weekend outing, and sometimes ride the free PresidiGo shuttle to return to the Inspiration Point parking lot, not because it’s a hard walk back, but because our son likes riding the shuttle.
The Ecology Trail is a nice easy walk to start with, with beautiful views at either end of the walk, but also check out these other Presidio hikes: Wood Line-Presidio, Dragonfly Creek to Fort Scott-Presidio, Goldsworthy Spire to National Cemetery Overlook, El Polin Spring-Presidio Walk, Battery Bluff-The Presidio, Tunnel Tops-The Presidio.
(Ecology Trail in the Presidio Hike Notes were originally paired with the “Walking Together” Insights post.)
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