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1999

Type: Municipal Hilltop Park, SNRA park, 6 acres.
Entrance Location: Use Radio Rd. Access from 14th Av to Radio Rd to Funston and park on the street. Note that 12th Av and Rockridge Dr are at different elevations and do not join to form a circuit around the park.
Facilities: Tennis courts. Playground. Restroom, water, and phone not noticed.
Fee-Hours: No fee. No curfew noted.
Dogs: Fair. Popular on-leash for short walks. Little off-leash opportunity.

I like to think of Golden Gate Heights as the park of 'cozy corners,' not that it is the only park with cozy corners to be found. It's just that nearby Grand View Hill is so bereft of cozy corners that it does serve to distinguish the two. As a Significant Natural Resource Area, Golden Gate Heights is low on the list, but nonetheless considered as such by parks and rec. It is indeed much less significant with regard to indigenous habitat than Grand View Hill. It is similarly at about 600,' yet densely forested with cypress and pine, which creates all the little enclosures and privacies to be discovered. It seems larger than it is because of all this spatial detail. Intimate spots can be found throughout the trees and some even provide a bit of a view. This is the park's greatest feature. It is in a nice neighborhood and so there is no feeling of danger in these niches. Though not immediately apparent, it is possible to get a full western view by penetrating the tree cover to the western slope of the hill, a slope which is dominated by annual grasses.
Another quality of this park is that it is nicely multi-faceted. In addition to the nooks and view, there are facilities in the form of tennis courts and a playground, there is a substantial open grass area (although it is on a moderate slope which greatly limits its potential), and there is a paved main trail from which all the little paths flow. The park is moderately used, almost exclusively by local residents. It is popular as a dog-walking park, although the vast majority of this activity confines itself to the brief paved trail which circumscribes the central area. A constant march of poodles and terriers and great danes can be expected here. The tennis court is particularly nice, and a bit unexpected in this area of hills and slopes. The park is 100% San Francisco as a distinctive hill park. It's distinctive qualities and particular character make it unique, even within the city.

Best Features: Many verdant nooks to explore. Nice wind protection from trees in this pretty park. High altitude in the Sunset District with nice views in some places. Pleasant tennis courts. Safe area. Easy access.

Worst Features: Little privacy on main paved pathway. Lots of dog walkers. Open space grassy area is moderately sloped limiting its use.

There is a Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood and Parks website:
www.bjharding.com/gghna/index.html