Stow Lake Loop

San Francisco, California

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The easy loop around Stow Lake is a classic Saturday-afternoon stroll for both visitors and residents of San Francisco. Yes, the landscape is lovely and there are fleeting views, but it’s the people-watching that makes this short circuit a standout. This sweet, short, paved round-we-go in the heart of Golden Gate Park circles Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill. Though sheltered from the cityscape by the thick greenery of the park’s landscaping, this is not an escape from the hustle and bustle—it’s more a scenic immersion. The people-watching is superlative, and lend an ear; you might hear birdsong but will surely be treated to a symphony of languages from around the world. Stow Lake is a pea-soup-green doughnut encircling the forested bulk of Strawberry Hill. The paved path circumnavigates the outer shore of the lake, with two bridges spanning the pond from the outer loop to an unpaved inner trail circling the hill. You can jump on the trail at any point, depending on where you find parking on Stow Lake Drive, which forms the outermost ring around the lake.

Stow Lake Loop Professional Review and Guide

"The easy loop around Stow Lake is a classic Saturday-afternoon stroll for both visitors and residents of San Francisco. Yes, the landscape is lovely and there are fleeting views, but it’s the people-watching that makes this short circuit a standout. This sweet, short, paved round-we-go in the heart of Golden Gate Park circles Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill. Though sheltered from the cityscape by the thick greenery of the park’s landscaping, this is not an escape from the hustle and bustle—it’s more a scenic immersion. The people-watching is superlative, and lend an ear; you might hear birdsong but will surely be treated to a symphony of languages from around the world. Stow Lake is a pea-soup-green doughnut encircling the forested bulk of Strawberry Hill. The paved path circumnavigates the outer shore of the lake, with two bridges spanning the pond from the outer loop to an unpaved inner trail circling the hill. You can jump on the trail at any point, depending on where you find parking on Stow Lake Drive, which forms the outermost ring around the lake."

Activity Type: Hiking, Trail Running
Nearby City: San Francisco
Distance: 0.9
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 46 minutes
Season: Year-round
Accessibility: Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Local Contacts: Golden Gate Park
Local Maps: USGS: San Francisco
Driving Directions: Directions to Stow Lake Loop

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May 2018