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Self-Guided Adventures

Spark ideas for your visit with our free guides and tools for exploring the park.

Looking for fun ways to explore the Presidio?

These self-guided adventures invite you discover the park’s nature and history. Additionally, the Field Station at Presidio Tunnel Tops is a “base camp” where you can choose from a free menu of exploratory guides and borrowable gear.

Downloadable Guides


Presidio Tunnel Tops Guide

Presidio Tunnel Tops is the gateway to the park – with trails, picnic sites, public lawns, San Francisco’s best playground, and Golden Gate Bridge views. The Presidio Tunnel Tops Discovery Guide, designed with illustrator Jean Wei, offers fun ideas for exploring on your own.

Illustrated Presidio Tunnel Tops map, showing the site from above.Illustrated map by Jean Wei.

Adventures in the Presidio Map

This colorfully illustrated map highlights nearly two dozen fun things to do around the park. These free maps are available at the Presidio Field Station.

Download the Adventure Map (English)

Adventure Map

Download the Adventure Map (Espanol)

Adventure Map

Download the Adventure Map (Chinese)

Adventures Map
Three children look at a Presidio Adventure Map.

Goldsworthy in the Presidio

The Presidio is home to the largest collection of works by artist Andy Goldsworthy on public view in North America. See Spire, Wood Line, Tree Fall, and Earth Wall on a self-guided three-mile walk with the Goldsworthy in the Presidio guide.

Two children walking on top of Wood Line. Photo by Brian Vahey.Photo by Brian Vahey.

Tennessee Hollow Watershed Walk

Tennessee Hollow is the park’s largest watershed, running through the eastern Presidio. The two-mile Tennessee Hollow Watershed Walk traces the creek system, describing nature and history along the way.

Creek flowing through the Tennessee Hollow Watershed.

Butterflies of the Presidio

There are ten sites in the Presidio where spotting a butterfly is more likely. Grab your binoculars and go for a walk!

Four Monarch butterflies on a branch.

Bird Guides

More than 300 bird species come through the Presidio each year. Great places to view them include Mountain Lake and Crissy Field.

Birds of Mountain Lake Guide

Go birding at Mountain Lake.

Mountain Lake Bird Guide

Birds of Crissy Field Guide

Go birding at Crissy Field.

Crissy Field Bird Guide
Yellow Wilson's Warbler on a branch.

Self-Guided Adventures


Presidio Explorer Backpack

The Presidio Explorer Backpack introduces families to self-guided park adventures. It includes a map, nature guides, a magnifying glass, binoculars, a sand sifter, colored pencils and paper, and a compass. Activity cards prompt fun along your journey. Check out a backpack in person from the Presidio Tunnel Tops Field Station.

Three children use the tools inside an Explorer Backpack.

Geocaching in the Presidio

Geocaching is a treasure hunt where you seek hiding spots using wayfinding clues. There are eighteen geocaches hidden in off-the-beaten-path spots in the Presidio, offering insights into the park’s history and nature. Most are housed in waterproof boxes with a small log book inside. Go look for them! Find instructions on the Geocaching website – just search for “Presidio of SF. You can also pick up GeoQuest cards at the Field Station that allow you to find the boxes without a cell phone.

Two women search for a geochache box in the Presidio.

Presidio Field Notes

Field Notes are a collection of small wooden blocks attached to fence posts, benches, and stumps along Presidio trails. Go find them in the park! They contain messages that invite you to discover the Presidio’s natural world. You might be prompted to look for a locally rare butterfly in the spring, discover a remnant of a historic rose garden in the summer, or smell fragrant California sage in the winter. Access the Field Notes map in English, Spanish, and Chinese through a QR code inside the blocks.

Visitors consult a field notes station at the Presidio.

Presidio StoryWalks

StoryWalks feature pages of a children’s book on sign panels along a trail so you can “seek, find and read” as you stroll. The Presidio is home to two “StoryWalks” from June to September. At Mountain Lake playground, experience I Wrote You a Note by Lizi Boyd. Starting at the Presidio Visitor Center on the Presidio Promenade Trail, enjoy The Hike by Alison Farrell. StoryWalks are presented with the San Francisco Public Library’s Summer Stride program.

A StoryWalk panel next to a pathway at Presidio Tunnel Tops.

Discovery Quests

A quest is a treasure hunt with wayfinding clues and activities that reward your journey. Every season, there is a new Discovery Quest that makes exploration of the Field Station and Outpost playground at Presidio Tunnel Tops a fresh new adventure. Exploring beyond Presidio Tunnel Tops, the Petlenuc Creek Quest takes you on a water-themed adventure that includes the beach, footbridges, and many observational activities along the way. All quests are available at the Field Station in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Two children explore in nature with a Quest guide.