Spending a day lost in the wilderness of Buena Vista Park in San Francisco makes for a splendid day out. The oldest park in the city is a natural refuge and offers not only endless walking trails to discover, but gifts some of the most spectacular views of the city. Book a holiday apartment rental nearby and you can enjoy the best this city, and its natural surroundings, have to offer. Pick a sunny day, pack a delicious picnic hamper, and discover this most gorgeous city oasis.
While Buena Vista may seem like a park one could easily get lost in, fear not; every path leads either uphill to the top, or downhill to the streets. Trails abound and are not marked, but finding your way in and out is immensely easy.
The best way to access entry to the park is on the corner of Haight and Lyon Streets, on the northern side. The trail will lead you all the way to the 175m high peak, and some sections may require a little more legwork than others. As the trail splits, stick to the right, so you can enjoy superlative views of the city, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge and peninsula.
Buena Vista Park is a favourite with local dog owners, so don’t be surprised if you come across many unleashed pets. It may not be strictly allowed here, but locals know the hardships which come with owning a large pooch in the city, so do allow for some flexibility. With over 40 acres of green pastures at your disposal, there’s certainly plenty of room for everyone! Moreover, it’s easy to see how a dog would go bonkers over this densely wooden area. Trees as far as the eye can see!
Atop Buena Vista Park is a lovely open area, ideal site for a picnic and a few hours’ blissful rest. The copious amounts of cypress and pine trees ought to provide plenty of shaded spots on hot days. To think that this park was almost completely barren just a couple of decades ago is quite astounding. Luckily, firm community action resulted in the planting of over 3000 trees in the 1970s, and the once sandy hill was turned into the most forested area of the city. Nowadays, a group of hardworking volunteers spend one Saturday a month weeding and pruning the park, to keep it in tip top shape.
Here’s an inside tip for the more macabre visitor; you may be elated to know that Buena Vista Park is also home to hundreds of recycled headstones. Yes, you read that right.
In the early 1900s, a few cemeteries in the city of San Francisco were closed down to make way for new urban constructions. We’re not quite sure how one closes down a cemetery either. Anyway, while most of the tombstones (and hopefully, the remains) were claimed by bereaved families, quite a few went unclaimed. In what must be the most baffling bout of environmental awareness, the superfluous tombstones were recycled into paving stones, most of which ended up lining the trails of the Buena Vista Park . See? Buena Vista Park really does have something for everyone!