Let's spend a day discovering one of the world's great parks. This brisk six-or-so mile adventure will take us around many of the great sites and vistas, encountering waterfalls, windmills, temples and pagodas, bison, and perhaps the best panoramic view of San Francisco.
We will gather at the distinctive San Francisco County Fair building just inside the 9th Street entrance to the park, a short distance from the Muni N line. From here we will walk past the Botanical Gardens, visit the Shakespeare Gardens (above), the AIDS Memorial Grove, and the Conservatory of Flowers (below).
From here we will meander past the Academy of Sciences to the Spreckles Temple of Music where we will stop for lunch (food trucks available) and pop up to the DeYoung Museum (below) for superlative 360 views of the city.
Next we will perambulate past the Japanese Tea Garden and "Chinese" (actually Taiwanese) Pavilion (below) to the Pioneer Log Cabin and Stow Lake Boathouse.
Next we discover Rainbow Falls and the Prayerbook Cross before moving on to the Bison Paddock and a leisurely walk to the western edge of the park, visiting the Murphy Windmill, Dutch Windmill and Queen Wilhemina Tulip Gardens, before settling at the Beach Chalet/Park Chalet for well-earned refreshments.
From the Beach Chalet/Park Chalet, it's a short walk to the Muni 5 bus, transporting us back to downtown San Francisco. I expect this hike will take four hours from the starting point to Park Chalet. Bring water, sunblock, and lunch or a snack; food and water will also be available along the way.