Port of San Francisco,
San Francisco County
Easy 1.5 mile walk in a little coastal oasis surrounded by industrial San Francisco.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 1.5 mile walk is easy, and the flat trail is wheelchair/stroller accessible.
Nice any time.
From Third Street in San Francisco, turn east onto Cargo Way. Follow Cargo Way to its terminus at Jennings Street, turn left, then turn right into the parking lot.
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, pay phones, stores, and restaurants in surrounding neighborhoods. No camping..
Paved parking lot. There are designated handicapped spots, and the trail is well-suited to wheels. Pit toilets and drinking water at trailhead. No parking or entrance fees. This trailhead is within walking distance of public transit -- SF Muni bus lines run down Evans Street. Read some cautions about urban hikes.
Trail is open from dawn to dusk. Dogs are permitted on leash only.
The Official Story:
Port of San Francisco's Heron's Head page
Map Choices/More Information:
Use a San Francisco street map to get there. AAA's San Francisco map is good.
The Walker's Map of San Francisco, by Pease Press is helpful in reaching and walking the park.
Download the PDF A Field Guide to 100 Birds of Heron's Head
Heron's Head article from Bay Nature
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
There's an old joke about San Francisco real estate, that
land here is so expensive because they're not making any more of it. Our
small city's shoreline was altered by landfill and subsequent development
in the past, but in more contemporary times the emphasis has been on coastal
conservation rather than fill and build. What is now called Heron's Head
Park is one of the last bits of artificially made city land. This small
peninsula was born in the early 1970s, as part of a Port of San Francisco
shipping terminal project that fizzled. The land remained, abandoned,
until the late 1990s, when environmental groups cleaned up the site and
opened it as Heron's Head Park. At first glance it's a strange location
for bird watching -- Port of San Francisco cargo terminals loom directly
to the north, and the old Hunter's Point Power plant (now
being dismantled) wheezed just to the southwest. But this little scrappy
spit of land is surrounded by water on three sides, with small patches
of salt marsh protected on the south part of the park, and although this
man-made habitat fails to resemble any of the other pristine natural bay
area shorelines, it attracts a huge variety of waterfowl, shorebirds,
and wading birds, as well as songbirds, owls, hummingbirds, and more.