Visit San Francisco County - Lake Merced to the Presidio

After traveling up the San Francisco peninsula, Anza, Moraga and Font and a small expedition of men made camp at Mountain Lake March 27-28, 1776. They selected the sites for the Presidio and Mission, and it was left to Lt. Moraga to return with the settlers on June 27. San Francisco was to become the new home for many of Anza's colonists.

Download map

Driving Directions for Auto Route

Continuing on the route from San Mateo County, take CA Highway 1 north (19th Avenue). It jogs right through Golden Gate Park and then jogs left to become Park Presidio. After crossing Anza Street, look for Lake Street on the right. Turn right onto Lake Street and look for parking to explore Mountain Lake Park at the ends of the streets to the left. Continue east on Lake Street and turn left on Argüello into the Presidio of San Francisco and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Turn left at Lincoln Blvd. and continue to the water's edge and the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge at Ft. Point. As an alternative route to reach the bridge, continue on CA Highway 1 though the Presidio. To visit the Mission, see below. Rejoin the route on CA Highway 1/280. To continue on the route, see San Mateo and Alameda County.

Hiking/Biking Ideas

The historic trail enters San Francisco County near Lake Merced. Immediately west of the lake is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. From either place, walk due north to reach Golden Gate Park. From Mountain Lake Park, walk to the Golden Gate Bridge area and Fort Point on a hiking trail that roughly traces the route of the expedition. All of these parks have bicycle paths.

Points of Interest

Expedition Campsites
  • Mountain Lake Park - Expedition Camp #95
    The exploratory expedition camped here (37° 47' 17" N 122° 28' 12"W) while they investigated the area, selecting the sites for the Presidio and the Mission. They noted lakes, lagoons and springs, since the colony needed a water source. This City of San Francisco park is a good place to stop and consider Anza's trek. There's an interpretive panel describing Anza's visit.
    http://www.sfnpc.org/mountainlakeparkhistory
Others
  • California Historical Society
    http://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org/
  • Fort Point
    http://www.nps.gov/fopo
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area
    Anza stood precariously at the edge of some white cliffs (near Fort Point, 37° 48' 38"N, 122° 28' 33"W) and decided where to build the Presidio for Spain's northernmost outpost. The beautiful forested recreation area is in stark contrast to the bare sand dunes found there in Anza's time. The area includes: Fort Point; the site of the original presidio around Pershing Square; a remnant of the presidio comandante's house; many trails; and the Visitor's Center (50 Moraga Ave.).
    http://www.nps.gov/goga
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area
    http://www.nps.gov/goga
  • Golden Gate Park
    The expedition passed through what would become this long slender park. The man-made park found there today bears little resemblance to the drifting sand and stiff winds that Anza found there. Biking along its many trails is a good way to see the park. There are trails throughout the park, but it is several miles through a residential neighborhood and the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge.
    http://www.parks.sfgov.org/site/recpark_page.asp?id=17796
  • Lake Merced
    The expedition passed to the east of Lake Merced. Adjacent to a portion of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the San Francisco Zoo, this park is best accessed from Highway 1 via Font Boulevard. The Sutro Library branch of the California State Library is also located nearby (480 Winston Dr.). There, visitors can learn more about the history of the area.
  • Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores)
    Anza, Moraga, and Font surveyed the area, and Anza selected the future mission site near a spring and lagoon and named it Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores. The mission was located near the Costanoan Ranchería (village) of Chutchui, and it was the tribes collected at the mission who built the structure seen today. It is the oldest intact building in San Francisco. To reach the Mission (3321 16th St.) from the Presidio, take Van Ness Ave./US-101 and turn right on 16th Street to Dolores Street. Here, and at the California Historical Society (678 Mission St.), visitors can learn of the changes to the city since Anza's time.
    http://www.californiamissions.com/cahistory/dolores.html
  • Presidio of San Francisco
    Anza stood precariously at the edge of some white cliffs (near Fort Point, 37° 48' 38"N, 122° 28' 33"W) and decided where to build the Presidio for Spain's northernmost outpost. The beautiful forested recreation area is in stark contrast to the bare sand dunes found there in Anza's time. The area includes: Fort Point; the site of the original presidio around Pershing Square; a remnant of the presidio comandante's house; many trails; and the Visitor's Center (50 Moraga Ave.).
    http://www.nps.gov/prsf/index.htm
  • San Francisco Zoo
    http://www.sfzoo.org/
  • Sutro Library
    http://www.library.ca.gov/about/cslgen3.html
  • Visitor's Center
    http://www.nps.gov/prsf/planyourvisit/presidio-visitor-center.htm

Additional Resources

  • California Historical Society - tel.: 415-357-1848
    678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
    http://californiahistoricalsociety.org
  • California State Library, Sutro Library - tel.: 415-731-4477
    480 Winston Drive, San Francisco, CA 94132
    http://library.ca.gov
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area - tel.: 415-561-4700
    Fort Mason, Building 201, San Francisco, CA 94123
    http:// nps.gov/goga
  • Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) - tel.: 415-621-8203
    3321 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
    http:// missiondolores.org
  • Presidio Trust - tel.: 415-561-5300
    34 Graham Street, San Francisco, CA 94129
    http:// presidio.gov
  • Presidio Visitors Center - tel.: 415-561-4323
    50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129
    http://nps.gov/prsf
  • San Francisco Recreation & Parks Dept. - tel.: 415-831-2700
    McLaren Lodge, 501 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
    http:// sfgov.org

« Return to County List