Fort Mason

  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Picnic
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling

Features

  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Picnic
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling

Information

Website:
visit link
Region:
San Francisco Bay Area
Phone:
Info: Fort Mason headquarters: (415) 561-4700; Fort Mason Center: (415) 345-7500
Dogs:
On leash
Fort Mason, a former Army post dating from the Civil War era, is divided into Upper and Lower Fort Mason with the Great Meadow sandwiched between. The main draw to the 50-acre upper section is the expansive lawns of the Great Meadow where on most days you will see picnickers (no picnic tables), people throwing Frisbees, dog walkers, and even sunbathers on rare warm days. Its location on a bluff top provides some nice views of the bay, including Golden Gate Bridge, but it also means that it can be windy here. There is level access onto the lawn throughout however, less so at its eastern end. Wide, paved, gently sloping paths circumnavigate the meadow winding past a few statues. Inside the fort complex you can visit a community garden, stay at the accessible Fisherman's Wharf Hostel, and take a self-guided history tour. Lovely views of the Bay, Alcatraz Island, and the municipal pier are at the backside of the complex and from the Bay Trail (aka MacDowell Rd.).

Lower Fort Mason, on the waterfront, is home to the Fort Mason Center, a thriving cultural and educational complex with theaters, galleries, museums, a gourmet vegetarian restaurant, classrooms, exhibition spaces, and nonprofit organization offices including Environmental Traveling Companions that offers guided whitewater rafting, kayaking and ski programs to people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth.  A farmers market takes place every Sunday, 9:30 am-1:30 pm.

After exploring Fort Mason, you can extend your trip to the west by taking the Golden Gate Promenade along the Marina Green, through Crissy Field, and still further to Fort Point. Be sure to check out the Wave Organ, a wave-activated sound sculpture on a jetty jutting into the bay at the marina.

To the east you can explore San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park , but to reach it from Upper Fort Mason requires negotiating some very steep hills and while it’s doable in a motorized wheelchair, it’s advisable to drive or take public transit.
• The Visitor Center is located at 499 Jefferson Street (at Hyde), (415-447-5000)
• The Hyde Street Pier and the historic ships are across the street from the Visitor Center
• The Maritime Museum is in the Bathhouse Building at 900 Beach Street (at Polk).

Still further east is Fisherman’s Wharf, one of San Francisco’s most popular visitor destinations with many restaurants, souvenir stores and shopping plus it is the launching point for a wide range of land and sea activities.


Trails and Pathways

Trail:
Golden Gate Promenade: Fort Mason to the Wave Organ
Trail Length:
2-4 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Mostly gentle
Terrain:
Hard
Trail:
Upper Fort Mason
Trail Length:
Less than .5 mile
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Mostly gentle
Terrain:
Hard
Trailhead Location: Accessible entrances to Upper Fort Mason are on Bay Street at Franklin Street, MacArthur Ave., and Van Ness Ave. Accessible entrances to the Great Meadow are at the Bay Street parking lot, the west end of MacArthur Avenue, and at Laguna Street. Of the two Laguna Street entrances the one closest to Bay Street has a gentle grade; the one closer to Marina Boulevard is steep.
Trail Overview: Both manual and motorized wheelchair users will be able to easily explore accessible highlights of Upper Fort Mason however, manual wheelchair users and others with reduced mobility may find the sloping topography around the meadow, and getting from lower Fort Mason, to upper Fort Mason, requires effort. At the western side of the meadow, look for signage that indicates the accessible route to Lower Fort Mason; the steeper more direct route may be manageable to some wheelchair users.

A section of the Bay Trail runs along a cliff at the backside of Upper Fort Mason. It’s lined with eucalyptus and cypress trees but still affords views of lower Fort Mason, the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. The trail’s entrance from the foot of Van Ness Avenue (near Aquatic Park Municipal Pier) is very steep. Alternatively you can also reach the trail from the Great Meadow and then travel a few hundred feet further before it travels steeply downhill towards Van Ness Ave. Adventurous and skilled wheelchair users may be able to travel this section––assistance may be required.

In Upper Fort Mason, to reach the vista point of the Bay and remnants of Black Point Battery and an authentic cannon, follow the sidewalk towards the water at Franklin Street to its end.

All of the sidewalks in the upper fort complex have curb ramps.
More Info: The trail entrance from the foot of Van Ness Avenue (near Aquatic Park Municipal Pier) is very steep.

Accessibility Features

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;

Upper Fort Mason: Accessible spaces are at the west end of MacArthur Avenue by the Great Meadow; in front of and behind the GGNRA offices; on Franklin Street across from the church; by General’s Residence; and within the quad. One is on Funston Road by the hostel and several are in the lot off Bay Street at Octavia Street. While the only designated van accessible space is on MacArthur Avenue in front of the GGNRA headquarters, others because of their wide size, may work for some vans with lifts or ramps. Lower Fort Mason: Numerous accessible spaces are in the fee lot.


Accessible Restroom:
Yes – In upper Fort Mason on the south side of the Great Meadow; in lower Fort Mason, while not considered public restrooms, there are accessible restrooms throughout, in particular within pier 2, lower level of building C, and at the Conference Room at 308.

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance; Two exemplary accessible tables in upper Fort Mason are by the hostel with nice views of the Great Meadow. There is space for multiple wheelchair users. Others are in the community garden.

Accessible Visitor Center:
Yes

Other Things of Interest:
The Fisherman's Wharf Hostel is situated on the bluffs in Upper Fort Mason, in Building 240. Operated by Hosteling International, it's a great place to meet travelers. The upper floor is fully accessible and has great bay views; accessible accommodations, including a roll-in shower and roll-under kitchen sink and stove, are available.

Generals Residence is a popular rental for weddings, meetings and other events. It is accessible throughout including, level entry, elevator, Braille room signage, fully accessible restrooms, and nearby accessible parking spaces; there’s a gentle slope from the parking area to the building but one can be dropped off in front of the building. To reserve: (415) 345-7557, sales@fortmason.org

The fully accessible chapel can be rented. There is an accessible parking space and ramp entrance. Inside there is an accessible restroom, accessible access to the stage, and companion seating at the pews. Call to reserve (415) 345-7557.




Good to Know:
A plaque at the Marina Green marks the site of the old Marina Air Field, the first terminus of the U.S. Post Office Department's transcontinental airmail service.

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