Solitude & Settlements hike

a grove of short trees surround a tall pointed spire, that seems to be made of tall, thin wooden logs that meet at a sharp point at the top
closeup image of a delicate purple and white flower
closeup image of a single blooming flower in sharp focus, while the green vines and brown grassland behind it are out of focus
closeup image of a cluster of deep purple wildflowers
image of a standing grove of tall trees

First photo: Goldsworthy’s Spire, Credit: Selena N.B.H. via flickr, CC-BY 2.0
Second photo: two Presidio Clarkia flowers. Credit: Tom Hilton via flickr, CC-BY 2.0
Other photos: RJ Ramey for

Get preparedConsider bringing these:

  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen? Only some of this hike is exposed.

Get Oriented

Rated moderate, due to some inclines to tackle. (NGL for those of us who are a little out of shape: some of the hills might beg a brief pause to rest.)

This hike is 2.5 miles in a near-loop. It will take a bit over 1 hour.

Locals’ knowledge here! This is a cool way to see the Spire art installation by Andy Goldsworthy, and also feel like you are exploring secret parts of the park: these are trails where almost no one else goes.

  • Start on at the trailhead of the Ecology Trail and gain elevation to the Upper Ecology Trail. The grasslands there are a beautiful, peaceful, sometimes windy spot to be alone. Wildflowers might be blooming, and — if you are truly lucky— you could find a Presidio Clarkia in bloom! The Clarkia is a species that only exists here on earth: it learned to flourish in this harsh soil that is heavy in the mineral serpentinite.
  • Next, you’ll reach Inspiration Point. The vista there is, well, true to name.
  • Cross Arguello Blvd. to hike past Spire and an area of intentional reforestation. Then, the map will show you where to divert in a ‘secret stretch’ of trail. You’ll end up in a section of Presidio housing tucked behind the golf course. Make your way back down Arguello Blvd., as if approaching the Main Post from behind. But there is one last detour (and hill to tackle) into the Thomas Avenue housing. Those residents enjoy quite a view, so you should too!
  • You will end up on the back-edge of the Main Post, where it is just 2 blocks to get back to the Officers’ Club.

Get startedFind the Trailhead:

NOTE: You may lose cell service for a little while on the trail, so load the map below before embarking!

This route starts on the Ecology Trail right behind the Inn at the Presidio.

image of a trailhead, with a white pole and a sign

Get going!

Tap the button to follow the path in Google Maps.
  • Spectacular view
  • 1-2.5 miles
  • Significant hills
  • Lots of shade

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Audio tours are copyright © 2022 by their authors and Presidio Tours. All rights reserved. Go enjoy this beautiful day!

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Audio tours are copyright © 2022 by their authors and Presidio Tours. All rights reserved. Go enjoy this beautiful day!