Golden Gate Park


Top-Five Lists

Especially Pretty

Nice For A Picnic

Lesser-Known Areas

Particularly Private

Easy To Drive To

Out In The Open

In The Bushes

Good For A Quickie

For Screamers



6 - McLaren Lodge

McLaren Lodge was once the home of park creator John McLaren, and it now houses the park's Visitors Center. If you're excited by the idea of some naughtiness right behind the back of authority, this may be just the spot for you!

Behind and to the west of the lodge is a sizable hill that is not frequently visited, despite having a rather pretty covering of trees. The hill is between McLaren Lodge and Conservatory Drive East, north of JFK Drive. The ridge of the hill runs southwest to northeast, roughly parallel to Conservatory Drive East.

You can reach this place by going a few hundred yards up Conservatory Drive East from JFK Drive and walking up the hill on the right (east) side. Alternatively, you can walk past the left side of McLaren Lodge, take the paved path that goes back past the parking lot behind the building, and turn left up the hill on one of a few small but clear dirt paths.

There are a number of paths atop the hill. None take you to places of complete privacy, so this spot might be best saved for a weekday, when fewer people are around. But even if you decide not to press the limits of appropriate public behavior, this is still a very enjoyable part of the park to visit.


1 - Mallard Lake

2 - Bison Paddock

3 - Rhododendron Dell

4 - 26th Avenue South

5 - Native Live Oak Grove

6 - McLaren Lodge

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