If you're hiking along the Bay Area Ridge Trail, you might be surprised to discover a new Presidio landmark of startling grandeur. Standing at 100 feet tall at its tapering peak, Spire is a sculpture by world-renowned artist Andy Goldsworthy. In fact it is the first Presidio piece he was inspired to create after he visited the park in 2006. Since then he has gone on to imagine three more –
, and Earth Wall – making the Presidio home to the largest collection of his works on public view in North America.
Spire is a powerful symbol of the rejuvenation of the beloved Presidio forest, first planted by the Army in the 1880s.The aging Monterey cypress are now reaching the end of their life and are being slowly replaced with healthy young saplings.
Working closely with the Presidio Trust forestry crew, in 2008 Goldsworthy selected 37 Monterey cypress trunks from trees felled at the site and meticulously fastened them together. Planted around its 15-foot-wide base are young cypress trees that will ultimately grow to obscure the sculpture – a bit like the old forest welcoming the new.
For now, Spire engages in a silent "call and response" with the other local legends visible from the site – the Transamerica Pyramid, Sutro Tower, and church spires, to name a few.
Goldsworthy's Presidio pieces, most made possible by the non-profit FOR-SITE Foundation, speak to the forest's meaning in some way. Each installation can be visited individually or explored together via a three-mile hiking loop along the Presidio's trails. View the map in the Goldsworthy in the Presidio brochure. Guided art hikes are held regularly – check the Events calendar.
Spire is best accessed on foot via the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The Presidio GO Shuttle stops nearby at Inspiration Point, and limited parking is available at the Presidio Golf Course. If you need to warm up with a cup of coffee, relax with a glass of wine and bite to eat, or just take a comfort break, head to the Presidio Café at the Presidio Golf Course clubhouse, a very short walk south of Spire.
View videos about Andy Goldsworthy's Art in the Presidio >>
Spire is Here to Stay
In June 2020, Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire suffered fire damage. We repaired the sculpture, and added a cable fence, new signage, and wood benches made by our Forestry crew. Catch an “up close” glimpse through this brief drone video.