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A woman and young girl walking at Mountain Lake. Photo by Myleen Hollero.

Mountain Lake Trail

This popular nature trail stars San Francisco's last surviving natural lake – and a whole lot more.


Golden Gate Region, Southern Wilds Region

Use Type

Multi-use Trail (Paved), Multi-use Trail (Unpaved)

Top Amenities

Accessible Parking, Accessible Restrooms, Free Parking, Bike Parking, Picnic Tables

Looking for a dose of nature in the city? Mountain Lake Trail is a hot spot for families, runners and walkers, and bird watchers.

Mountain Lake Trail traces the Presidio’s Southern Wilds from the Broadway Gate and to Baker Beach.

Along this nature walk in San Francisco you’ll pass by Andy Goldsworthy’s Wood Line, two popular playgrounds – Presidio Wall Playground and Mountain Lake Park – and the trail’s namesake, San Francisco’s last surviving natural lake.

Mountain Lake is home to many native species, including Western pond turtles, Pacific chorus frogs, and 65 bird species who visit the lake on their way warmer (or cooler) climates. Only second to Crissy Field East Beach, Mountain Lake is a hot spot for bird watchers and nature photographers.

The west end offers up the Marine Cemetery Vista, where a boardwalk snakes through the native dune plants and grasses. A humble memorial pays homage to 500 sailors who were buried on a hillside behind the former Marine hospital in the 19th century. The experience ends at beautiful Baker Beach.

Presidio Trail Tip 

Restrooms are located at Presidio Golf Course, Mountain Lake Park, Presidio Wall Playground, and Baker Beach. 


2.6 miles (4.1 kilometers)

Activity Level


Trail Surface

Gravel, paved and wooden boardwalks in sections.

Estimated Walking Time

60 minutes

Getting to the Mountain Lake Trail

Map of the Mountain Lake Trail


At the east end, Mountain Lake Trail begins at the Broadway Gate. At the west end, it begins off Lincoln Boulevard near Baker Beach. 


Parking & Public Transit

At the east end, very limited free parking can be found on West Pacific Avenue near where it intersects with Lovers Lane. At the west end, there is a free parking lot at Baker Beach. To get to the Presidio by bus or shuttle, visit the Public Transit page. 


Connecting Trails

Lovers Lane Trail

Experience nature and history on San Francisco’s oldest footpath.

Learn More

Tennessee Hollow Trail

After years of habitat restoration, nature’s comeback story is on display along this nature trail.

Learn More

Ecology Trail

Enjoy Redwoods, native grasslands, and an inspiring San Francisco Bay view on this nature hike. 

Learn More

Bay Area Ridge Trail

This section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail runs from the Arguello Gate to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Learn More

Park Trail

This trail connects the southern Presidio to Crissy Field. 

Learn More
People walking along Andy Goldsworthy’s Wood Line near Lovers Lane in the Presidio.Walking along Wood Line is one of the best things to do in San Francisco. Photo by Paul Myers.