Mount Davidson, at 927 feet, is the highest point in San Francisco. Mount Davidson Park is often overlooked as a hiking destination; all most people know about this parcel of land is that it's the hill with the cross on top. Although the cross and the land immediately surrounding it no longer belong to the City of San Francisco, the whole mountain top is laced with trails and one wide fire road. Some paths lead down to the edges of the park, and if you really get the itch to explore Mount Davidson, you might want to drive on the streets that circumnavigate the mountain and look for steps leading uphill.
The 40-acre park has expansive views south to San Bruno and north to the city skyline, but it's still fun to visit Mt. Davidson on a foggy summer day. The sound of the wind blocks noise from the surrounding city, and that can be heard are sporadic bird songs. Soft pale billowing fog wraps around the mountain, making you feel far from San Francisco.
Start at the park gate and head uphill on the main trail, a broad dirt fire road. A eucalyptus forest obstructs any views. Blackberry bushes are common, and there's a lot of red elderberry, ivy, and cotoneaster. Small paths depart from both sides of the trail; all are options if you're like to explore, but for the quickest trip to the top, stay on the gently graded main trail. At 0.24 mile, the trail ends at a broad bare spot. A break in the tree cover permits views of the downtown skyline to the north. A rough path continues downhill, but turn around and head toward the cross. Look for an unmarked small path to the left. After a few steps the trail splits; stay to the right. The narrow path squeezes through blackberry and cotoneaster. After descending on some stone steps, the path meets the main trail. Turn left and return to the trailhead.
Mt. Davidson Park is owned by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
The main entry point is at Dalewood Way and Lansdale Avenue, where there is bus stop for the 36-Teresita route.
If you don't live on the 36-Teresita line, there are several ways you can get to it:
-- K/L/M/T Muni Metro: Forest Hill station, transfer to the 36 bound for Valencia/Cesar Chavez St.
-- If you take the 43-Masonic or 44-O'Shaughnessy from points north (Pacific Heights, Laurel Heights, Richmond, Haight, Marina, Presidio), you can also off-board at the Forest Hill station and catch the 36.
-- 23-Monterey -- Monterey Boulevard at Foerster Way; take the Forest Hill-bound 36 bus.
-- 48-Quintara/24th St. -- Portola and Woodside or Teresita. Walk to nearby Portola and Fowler, and catch the 36 bound for Valencia/Cesar Chavez St.
Service to Mount Davidson/Myra/Dalewood after 9:00 PM is by request only.