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 Community Garden Reopening Celebration

Join us from 10 a.m. to noon for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, March 23 as we open the McLaren Community Garden! We will have brief remarks, family-friendly gardening activities and … Continue reading

Ropes Course to Raise Profile of McLaren Park, Expand Local Access to Leadership Programming

SAN FRANCISCO –  The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission today approved a plan to transform an under-used part of John McLaren Park into a high ropes challenge focusing on leadership and character development for local youth and others. A project of SF Rec and Parks and Outward Bound California … Continue reading

McLaren Park Playground and Group Picnic Area Renovation in Bid/Award Phase

Eight bids were received by potential contractors on the McLaren Park Playground and Group Picnic Area Renovation, and the bids were within the project budget! The project will be presented by to staff to the Rec & Park Department Commission for contract award in January 2019. Construction is anticipated start … Continue reading

McLaren Community Garden Construction Progress Update

We are headed to the end of construction on the renovation of the McLaren Community Garden! The contractor has completed all the site work, and installed the shipping container tool shed. They are currently installing the fencing, and the last part will be the installation of the site furnishings, including … Continue reading

McLaren Community Garden Construction Update

We are more than half way through our renovation of the McLaren Community Garden! The contractor has completed all the concrete work and built all the raised planter beds. The next steps will be installing the fencing, followed by the site furnishings, including benches, tables, gazebo, greenhouse, and tool shed. … 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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There are no Classes at this time

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