At the northern tip of San Francisco's Presidio, Baker Beach offers spectacular views from outside the Golden Gate. Beach wheelchairs are available if you reserve in advance and can transport one here from Fort Mason. An accessible bench sits in the northwest corner of the oceanfront parking lot, and nearby, behind the restroom, a short path leads to a grassy area where picnic tables are set on pavement and dirt among cypress trees. Battery Chamberlin, near the north end of the northern parking lot, is an artillery installation the U.S. Army maintained and frequently remodeled from the late 1800s through World War II. It still has a six-inch "disappearing gun" from the early 1900s, designed to pop up from behind a parapet to fire, then drop down again. The gun is revealed every weekend, weather permitting, and on the first full weekend of each month, from 11 am to 3 pm, park rangers demonstrate how it works. The approach from the parking lot is level but steps prevent close access to the installation.
Trails and Pathways
- Lobos Creek Valley Trail
- Trail Length:
- Under one mile total
- Typical Width:
- 4 ft. & above
- Typical Grade:
- Typical Terrain:
Trailhead Location: At the southwestern end of the Presidio Trust maintenance yard parking lot, which is on the east side of Lincoln Boulevard, across from Bowley Street and Baker Beach
Trail Overview: If you visit Baker Beach in spring, be sure to take the short trek along this boardwalk through the restored dune habitat of Lobos Creek Valley to see the wildflowers in bloom. Look for purple dune gilia and San Francisco lessingia (both endangered), sticky monkeyflower, bush lupine, paintbrush, coast buckwheat, and more. It's also a great place to spot birds and butterflies. The boardwalk begins near the southwestern edge of the parking lot and winds first south and then east through the dunes; it undulates as it follows the dune contours, but the slopes are gentle. Along the southern edge of the dunes, behind a fence and a tangle of coast live oaks, is Lobos Creek, the last free-flowing creek in San Francisco and the Presidio's main water source. For the most part it isn't visible from the trail, but you can often hear it as you follow its course eastward.
After about a quarter of a mile the trail swings north, and shortly after that a spur trail takes off to the left; follow it to reach an observation platform that looks out over the dunes from a slight elevation. Here you'll find a bench and an interpretive sign describing the area's history and the dune ecosystem restoration. This is a good turnaround point; the boardwalk continues to the north and then loops west, but stops at a set of stairs where there is no space to turn around.
More Info: No turnaround area at the end of the boardwalk The boardwalk sags a bit in the middle and shrubbery encroaches on it in places.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria
unless otherwise noted.
- Accessible Parking:
- Yes – designated accessible parking, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;
Several accessible spots are in both the north and south (oceanfront) lots at Baker Beach, and two are in the lot at the Lobos Creek Valley trailhead.
- Accessible Restroom:
- Yes – At northern and southern (oceanfront) parking lots. The restroom building in the northern lot has no 5' x 5' turnaround space except in the stall.
- Beach Wheelchair:
- Beach wheelchairs are available for pickup at Crissy Field and Fort Mason, Building 201; five days advance notice is required. To reserve, you can send email via the NPS website or call 415-561-4958; (800) 877-8339
- Accessible Picnic Table:
- no firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, less than 27" knee clearance
- Other Things of Interest:
- The northernmost end of Baker Beach is frequented by clothing-optional sunbathers.