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

Due South Concert Series to be Held at McLaren Park

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, San Francisco Parks Alliance, District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, and Noise Pop are excited to announce the inaugural season of the Due South Concert Series.  Due South is a new series of free concerts made possible by the City of … Continue reading

McLaren Park Group Picnic Playground Construction News

Hi everyone! Construction is going smoothly on the playground renovation at the Group Picnic Area. Demolition is complete and the contractor continues to work on grading and underground utilities. The design team on the restroom project is working on construction documents for site work and utility connections for the new … Continue reading

Construction & restroom design Update

Hi folks, We are excited to share that the restroom design has been approved by the Recreation and Park Department Commission. The project team is now finalizing the construction documents for the project. Meanwhile, the Playground & Picnic Area Renovation is underway. The contractor is focused on demolition, grading and … Continue reading

Construction has started on the McLaren Playground!

Hi all- It is official, construction on the Playground at the Group Picnic Area has begun with demolition of planters, old paths, and a portion of the retaining wall. Work is off to a good start and we are looking forward to sharing regular updates with photographs of the work. … 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