The Presidio preserves an astonishingly complex cultural and natural heritage within its 1480 acres.
For thousands of years, Native Americans called the Ohlone managed and harvested the natural bounty of what is now the Presidio. In 1776, Spanish soldiers and missionaries arrived, forever disrupting Ohlone culture and beginning 218 years of military use of the area just south of the Golden Gate.
The Presidio served as a military post under the flags of Spain (1776-1822), Mexico (1822-48), and the United States (1848-1994). As a U.S. Army post, the Presidio protected commerce and trade, and played a logistical role in every major U.S. military conflict from 1848 until closure. World events and those on the home front - from military campaigns to the rise of aviation, from World Fairs to natural disasters - left their mark here.
On October 1, 1994, the Presidio became part of the
Golden Gate National Recreation
Area. Since 1998, the Presidio has been jointly managed by the National Park Service and the
Trust. The Presidio Trust is a special public-private governmental agency tasked with managing most of the buildings of the Presidio.
Today, visitors enjoy the history and beauty of the Presidio. Within its boundaries are more than 500 historic buildings, a collection of coastal defense fortifications, a national cemetery, an historic airfield, a saltwater marsh, forests, beaches, native plant habitats, coastal bluffs, miles of hiking and biking, and some of the most spectacular vistas in the world.
The William Penn Mott Jr. Visitor Center contains photographs and exhibits representing the Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and United States periods of occupation. Park Rangers and docents give programs on a variety of topics on most weekends and some weekdays.
Visitors can explore the main post on their own with a free self-guiding walking tour. The Golden Gate Promenade along
Crissy Field offers spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco and the bay. Eleven miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of bicycle routes crisscross the Presidio (Maps are available at the Visitor Center).
The Presidio can be reached from the north by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge (Highways 1 and 101); from the east by way of Lombard Street (Highway 101); and from the south via Highway 1.
The National Park Service offers a virtual map that allows visitors to tour the Presidio and learn about some places you can visit.