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McLaren Park & Excelsior District

This hike will be almost identical to the first hike I led for City Steps, described online at:

If you attended in May, I'll eagerly look forward to welcoming you along again ... but must admit in advance that you'll see little you didn't see the first time. We'll stroll a loop in the southern portion of the park that we didn't visit in May, and also will detour to McNab Lake, to take in all the major attractions of McLaren Park in one day.  After descending from the iconic blue tower shown at left, we'll use residential streets in the Excelsior to return to the starting point, rather than detour to Mission.

Other than that: virtually the same hike, different date.


We'll cross Crocker Amazon, hike through McLaren Park to the knoll at Visitacion and Mansell, double back to McNab Lake and the redwood grove, the upper reservoir and the blue water tower before descending the Valmar Terrace steps to Athens. (Streets in the Excelsior are fancifully named after cities and countries: Athens, Moscow, Italy, France, etc.)

From here, we'll use side streets to manage the rest of the trek back to our starting point. The hike will include one bathroom break about an hour into the route, although we should have access to a bathroom near the start of the hike, too. The hike won't include a meal break.

You'll spend a lot of time on park trails, and will be on your feet and moving for about three hours.

Meeting Place

On the grass on the south side of Geneva, at the intersection with Prague.

Getting there, transit

From the Balboa Park station, you can board an every-ten-minutes eastbound 8X, and get off at the stop shown at Geneva and Munich. You also could board a 43, but this line will meander through the Crocker-Amazon hills before reaching Geneva/Munich.

Getting there, car

You should be able to find a spot for your vehicle on nearby side streets, but there are occasional car break-ins in this neighborhood, and you might be the unlucky victim. Consider yourself forewarned.


Approximately three hours.

Worth mentioning

  • Dog lovers and professional dog walkers bring their pooches to McLaren Park. We'll probably pass several or many dogs, and there's no guarantee that all will be friendly.
  • Please be at the starting point by 1:00 p.m. We'll leave promptly. I'd go nuts trying to arrange halfway-through-the-hike rendezvous points, so if you get there at 1:03 and the group is gone, well, don't say I didn't warn you!
  • I doubt many would think of lighting up on a City Steps hike, but we're going to spend a lot of time in a park, so I'll rest easier if I mention: fires and acres of dry greenery do not mix. This hike is strictly no smoking.
  • Many of the park trails require single file walking, and some portions of the trail require careful footsteps. Wear good shoes.
  • I don't guarantee it, but I intend to repeat this hike, so please don't fret if there's not room for you today.
  • If you'd like to learn more about McLaren Park or the Excelsior District, please see the websites maintained by the wonderful volunteers of Save McLaren Park, Help McLaren Park, the McLaren Park Collaborative and the Excelsior District Improvement Association.

You are responsible for your own safety on all City Steps walks. Your yes RSVP confirms that you have read and agree to our liability waiver found here and have reviewed our safety tips found here

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    1 · June 30, 2013

  • Joan S

    Nice hike! Thanks for your leadership!

    1 · June 29, 2013

  • Alfred K.

    Thanks for taking us through this hidden treasure!

    1 · June 29, 2013

  • Jane D

    Great walk, thanks

    1 · June 29, 2013

  • David

    Thank you for a wonderful walk Tim.

    1 · June 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great walk ! Thank you for being such a great advocate of the Southern neighborhoods.

    1 · June 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Not going to make this one! sorry for the late notice!

    June 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Won't make this one today but can't wait to do one soon.

    June 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am sunburnt from today and need to find a place to be inside tomorrow :(

    June 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry for the late notice but I can't make it.

    June 28, 2013

  • Victoria H.


    June 28, 2013

  • Tammy

    My daughter and grandson came from Washington for a surprise visit. Hope this hike is offered again.

    June 28, 2013

  • Marianne S.

    Must work

    June 26, 2013

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