Skip to Content
Two people sitting on the ground overlooking Mountain Lake. Photo by Myleen Hollero.

Southern Wilds

Home to the park's​ ​wildest areas, this is the place to experience the Presidio's great outdoors.


Southern Wilds Region


History, Nature & Sustainability, Recreation, Food, Art & Culture

Top Amenities

Accessible Parking, Accessible Restrooms, Wheelchair-accessible Picnic Tables, Paid Parking, Bike Parking

Enjoy a surprising blend of untamed nature, spectacular recreation, and restful solitude in the park’s Southern Wilds.

This is the Presidio’s biggest region, encompassing nearly half the park. The headline is nature, with native plants and wildlife on display at Mountain Lake, El Polin Spring, and in the vast Presidio forest.

It’s also a place to play, with Presidio Wall Playground and Presidio Golf Course offering different kinds of “swings.” And two of Andy Goldsworthy’s artworks – Spire and Wood Line – play with your imagination. 

Enjoy it all on miles of Presidio trails and from three scenic overlooks. And if you want to immerse yourself, book a stay at Rob Hill Campground. 

Getting to Southern Wilds

Mountain Lake, San Francisco, CA

Two people sitting on the ground overlooking Mountain Lake. Photo by Myleen Hollero.

By Public Transit

Muni Route: 1 California  

  • Stop: Various 

By Presidio GO Shuttle

Route: South Hills Route 

  • Stop: Inspiration Point 
  • Note: Best shuttle stop for Presidio Golf Course, El Polin Spring, Spire by Andy Goldsworthy. 
  • Stop: Rob Hill Campground 
  • Note: Best shuttle stop for Immigrant Point Overlook, Batteries to Bluff trail. 

Southern Wilds Parking

There are paid parking options near major attractions all around the Southern Wilds.

Why We Love Southern Wilds

Southern Wilds brings the possibility of fresh adventure with every visit. Whether you’re eating a picnic by the only natural lake in the entire Golden Gate National Recreation Area or happening upon the little-known Golf Course General Store, there’s always something new to discover.

Accessibility at Southern Wilds

Enjoy views of the Southern Wilds from four accessible scenic overlooks – Inspiration Point, National Cemetery Overlook, Lobos Creek Valley Overlook, and the Marine Cemetery Vista.

Insider Tip

If you’re an art lover, you can explore a duo of sculptures by acclaimed artist Andy Goldsworthy. Stretch your neck before peering up at the 100-foot-tall Spire, then take a stroll along the graceful, zig-zagging curves of Wood Line.

Visitors enjoying the view from Inspiration Point Overlook in the Presidio. Photo by Paul Myers.Photo by Paul Myers.
background pattern

Frequently Asked Questions

Look for the green-gabled roof of the Golf Course General Store for snacks and drinks or settle down for a proper meal at Presidio Golf Course.

To book a Presidio tee time, call (415) 5614661 or make a reservation online with Presidio Golf Course.

Yes! Ripe with opportunities for spectacular birdwatching, Mountain Lake is the only natural lake in the entire 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Come here to see a Western pond turtle or Chorus frog. 

There’s something different to love about each of the Southern Wilds’ unique scenic overlooks. Our advice? Visit them all, including Inspiration Point, National Cemetery Overlook, Lobos Creek Valley Overlook, and the Marine Cemetery Vista.

Open from April through October, Rob Hill Campground accepts reservations on a six-month roiling basis. Learn more on the website.

Nature Notes

It’s our goal to make sure people can enjoy the Presidio’s natural beauty for generations to come. We work to protect native plants and animals while reducing our impact on the environment. 

Western Pond Turtle

We’re working with partners to restore the Western pond turtle population at Mountain Lake.

Tennessee Hollow Watershed

More than 50 acres of native habitat have been restored in the Tennessee Hollow watershed since the late 1990s.

Water flowing through a creek in the Tennessee Hollow Watershed in the Presidio.

Explore the Whole Park

Want to learn more about another region of the park, or see a list of top attractions?