Lake Merced Park

Lake Merced Park

Lake Merced, a large freshwater lake in San Francisco’s southwestern corner, is the heart of a 614-acre park that is popular with boaters, hikers, bicyclists, and birdwatchers. A 4.5-mile paved trail circles the lake’s perimeter; facilities include many picnic areas and a boathouse, fishing pier, and boat launch. The park is bounded by three golf courses, including City-owned Harding Park.

Lake Merced is major water, recreational, and natural resource for the City and County of San Francisco and the surrounding area. It is also an important stop for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway. More than half of the park is managed by the Recreation and Parks Department’s Natural Areas Program, which works to restore and protect habitat for birds and other wildlife, as well as to maintain and improve trails.

Originally inhabited by the Ohlone people, the land around Lake Merced was a ranch during the era of Mexican rule. In the 1850s, a famous duel took place near the lake’s shore, between David S. Terry, formerly chief justice of the Supreme Court of California, and the Honorable David C. Broderick, a U.S. senator. Broderick died of his wounds, but Terry was later acquitted; a plaque now marks the location.

The lake has supplied water to the City since the late 1860s. The park was established in the 1950s, after the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which manages the City’s water supply and owns the land, turned its management over to the Recreation and Parks Department. The park is bounded by John Muir Drive, Skyline Boulevard, and Lake Merced Boulevard.

What's New

San Francisco State University Freshmen Welcome Days

On Saturday, August 24, SFRPD collaborated with community partners, the SF Parks Alliance and the Dept of Public Works to host a day of volunteer service at Lake Merced and Golden Gate Park for incoming students to San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco.   Over 120 matriculating freshmen … Continue reading

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Facility Schedule

Monday

Operating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

There are no Classes at this time

Tuesday

Operating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

There are no Classes at this time

Wednesday

Operating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

There are no Classes at this time

Thursday

Operating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

There are no Classes at this time

Friday

Operating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

There are no Classes at this time

Saturday

Operating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Activity Course Start Time End Time Location Room/Area Age Group Class Type Instructor Start Date End Date Description
Kayaking & Canoeing – All Ages Kayaking at Lake Merced 1:00 pm 3:30 pm Lake Merced Park Lake-North All Ages Aquatics - Waterfront Activities Greg Gieseker 05/30 05/30

Learn the basics of kayaking including proper stroke, types of kayaks and weather conditions. Students must know how to swim before taking the class and provide their own wet suits if they want to wear a wet suit. Dress for various weather conditions: wear synthetic wool clothing and bring a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. Bring water and a snack. Class may be cancelled due to weather. For more information, call Rex Biteng at 415-335-9184. Location is 1 Harding Dr., Lake Merced Boathouse, North Lake.

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Sunday

Operating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

There are no Classes at this time

Trail Map

Lake Merced Trail Map

Location Map