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Image of sidewalk alongside road called Thompson Reach with a woman and her dog walking in the image.

Thompson Reach

Experience a habitat restoration site where birds and butterflies now thrive.


Golden Gate Region


Recreation & Wellness, Habitat


History, Nature & Sustainability, Recreation

Top Amenities

Paid Parking, Muni Bus-accessible, Shuttle-accessible

Though only a couple of acres in size, Thompson Reach tells a big story of habitat transformation – one that continues today.

Thompson Reach is a short walk from Presidio Tunnel Tops and Presidio Visitor Center. It’s hard to imagine that in 2005, this pretty patch of native fauna and flora was an Army landfill.

In 2005, the Presidio Trust and volunteers revitalized the site as part of the larger – and ongoing –Tennessee Hollow Watershed restoration. It didn’t take long for the animals, birds, and butterflies to return. Today, it’s a beautiful stop along the Tennessee Hollow Trail and Presidio Promenade Trail.

Getting to Thompson Reach

Girard Rd, San Francisco, CA

Google Map of the Presidio

By Public Transit

Muni Route: 43

Stop: Presidio Transit Center

By Presidio GO Shuttle

Route: Downtown

Stop: Presidio YMCA


Paid parking can be found across Lincoln Boulevard in the lot next to the Presidio Community YMCA.

Why We Love Thompson Reach

Surrounded by businesses, schools, and office spaces, Thompson Reach offers a quick nature break.

Accessibility at Thompson Reach

Thompson Reach can be seen from the Presidio Promenade Trail sidewalk that runs right next to it along Lincoln Boulevard.

Insider Tip

Thompson Reach is a popular butterfly “hotspot.. A great place to see the action is from the adjacent Wayburn Redwood Grove. For details, check out the Butterflies of the Presidio Guide.

View of Palace of Fine Arts from Thompsons Reach with trees in the foreground.Photo source:


Thompson Reach is a place to understand the Presidio’s ecology and history.

History of Thompson Reach

For thousands of years, a freshwater creek passed through this valley before flowing into the salt marsh at what today we call Crissy Field. In the 1860s, the site was turned into a vegetable garden and then a firing range. Later, the Army built housing for nurses, pushing the creek underground into pipes. In the 1970s, these buildings were demolished, and the debris was left behind.

Restoring the Natural Habitat

In 2005, 77,000 tons of landfill were removed, and a 400-foot section of long-buried creek was brought back up above ground. Volunteers then planted 35,000 seedlings representing 156 native plants species. Watch a short video about the restoration.

What’s in a Name?

Thompson Reach honors Dora E. Thompson, who played an important role in the relief efforts after the 1906 earthquake. Later, she became the chief nurse at Letterman General Hospital, which today houses Tides Converge.

Wayburn Redwood Grove

Thompson Reach sits next to Wayburn Redwood Grove, which celebrates great park champions.


Woman volunteering with her two young children.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Restroom can be found a short walk away at Presidio Transit Center. Presidio Pop Up mobile food vendors next to the Main Parade Lawn offer great options.

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.

Butterflies of Thompson Reach

Thompson Reach is one of ten sites in the Presidio where spotting a butterfly is more likely.

Butterflies of the Presidio Guide
Man walking his dog along the Presidio Promenade Trail next to Thompson Reach.Photo source:

Park Itineraries

Need help planning your day at the Presidio? We’ve put together some itinerary ideas for things to see and do in the park. Whether you’re planning to spend a few hours or an entire day, there’s something for everyone at the Presidio.