McLaren Park Natural Areas

Meadow in McLaren Park with view of downtown

McLaren Park, the second largest park in San Francisco, was named for John McLaren, the superintendent of Golden Gate Park from 1887 to 1943. It includes a natural area rich in native plants and animals, as well as picnic areas, playgrounds, lawns and planted gardens, a golf course, tennis courts, and an amphitheater. Miles of paved and unpaved trails wind through the park, many of them built during the Depression by the Works Progress Administration. You can hike through a variety of habitats, both native and introduced, including forests, grasslands, and marshy riparian areas, where springs feed Yosemite Creek.

 

What's New

McLaren Group Picnic + Playground Concept Design Presentation – Nov. 1st

We had a productive third community meeting and appreciate those who were able to join us in person. If you couldn’t make it, please see our updated concept design here: Group Picnic + Playground Concept Design. Our next step will be to present the draft concept design to the Capital Committee … Continue reading

Come work on trails in McLaren Park Sept 23 and Sept 24

Join Rec & Park’s Natural Resources Division and Volunteers for Outdoor California (V-O-Cal) for a large scale trail building event in McLaren Park this coming Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24. Rec and Park has partnered with V-O-Cal every year for several years to complete significant trail improvements in … Continue reading

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Facility Schedule

Monday

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Tuesday

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Wednesday

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Thursday

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Friday

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Saturday

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Sunday

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Classes & Open Gym/Swim Schedule:

There are no Classes at this time

Natural History

The grasslands and coastal scrub of McLaren Park are home to more than 115 native plant species. One of these is a wildflower called footsteps of spring, which appears in early February and March and disappears before summer. A member of the carrot family, footsteps of spring resembles bursting green and yellow stars and lies flat on the ground.

Many aquatic insects can be found in the marshes and ponds of McLaren Park, including the San Francisco forktail damselfly. Damselflies are related to dragonflies but differ in appearance and habit. The San Francisco forktail damselfly is distinguished by its smaller size and the way it folds back its wings at rest. This damselfly is found in only a few areas around San Francisco Bay. In order to survive it needs shallow ponds and slow-running streams.

Until 1999, McLaren Park was home to a population of our state bird, the California quail. A gregarious bird that travels in a covey, the California quail has a distinctive call that sounds like cu-ca-cow. Both males and females have a teardrop-shaped plume atop their heads, often referred to as a topknot. Predators, poaching, and loss of vegetation cover have contributed to their decline and disappearance. Now there is an effort to restore quail habitat and reintroduce the bird to McLaren Park.

Trail Map

McLaren Park Trail Map

Location Map