This hilltop park in the Diamond Heights neighborhood has amazing views of the city and bay, and a mix of urban forest and grassland plant communities. American kestrels and other raptors often soar overhead, hunting small mammals and reptiles. As rodents scurry through grasslands, they mark their trails with urine, which absorbs ultraviolet light. Raptors such as kestrels can see UV light, a trait that enables them to track the rodents along these “urine highways” through the grasslands. Smaller rodents such as voles urinate almost continuously, so a kestrel can simply follow the fresh trail directly to its prey.
Billy Goat Trails
Billy Goat Hill has a small trail network consisting of 0.2 miles. The trail is made up of steep switchbacks up the hillside to a view point. The trail climbs a short distance further before flattening out near Beacon Street. Walter Haas Park is adjacent to Billy Goat Hill across Beacon Street.
Some trails at Billy Goat Hill were steep and dangerous, especially during the rainy season. One trail segment on the north side was adjacent to a steep cliff face.To improve safety and access, the Urban Trails Program recently realigned these trails, and built several stairs and a short retaining wall. Trailside vegetation was restored to stabilize soils and improve aesthetics and habitat value.
(Photos by Melissa Loesgren)
The park can be accessed from 30th street or Beacon Street. Street parking is widely available around the park. Muni line 52 stops on the other side of Walter Haas Park.
Report a Maintenance Issue
To report a maintenance or vandalism issue at this site, call 311, or click here.