Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill in Golden Gate Park

Surrounding Strawberry Hill is Stow Lake, the park’s largest lake and a serene setting for boating or strolling

Surrounding Strawberry Hill is Stow Lake, the park’s largest lake and a serene setting for boating or strolling. Photographic opportunities abound here; one choice site is the Golden Gate Pavilion, an exotic sight among the naturalistic character of the lake. A wide variety of waterfowl can be seen throughout the year, and turtles that sun themselves on waterborne logs have long delighted and fascinated Stow Lake’s visitors. Water-loving plants inhabit the water’s edge and in some places create a hedge between the lake and the surrounding footpath.

The highest point of the park, the summit of Strawberry Hill, commands a 360-degree view; an observatory once stood here, until the 1906 earthquake put it into ruins. 


Stow Lake Boat Rentals:

The fleet of American-made boats includes rowboats, electric boats, and pedal boats that seat from one to four boaters. All motorboats, including the support boat, are electric powered and silently glide across the serene waters of Stow Lake. Stow Lake Boathouse offers two styles of boats for rent: row boats and pedal boats. They no longer offer boats that are motor-only, but we do rent electric pedal boats with a battery inside, allowing our guests to pedal or to use the electric motor to power the boat. Come check out the newest addition to the boat fleet, a pedal boat that seats 4-6 people


Huntington Falls

One summer, Park Superintendent John McLaren visited naturalist John Muir in the High Sierra. Muir, who had little use for human-made parks, pointed out several waterfalls set among magnificent trees. When McLaren returned to San Francisco, he described his vision to W. W. Stow, the wealthy chair of the park commission. Stow agreed that a waterfall would be a wonderful addition to the park and took his friend, railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, for a buggy ride, passing Strawberry Hill several times. McLaren joined them, but it was Stow who convinced the tycoon that a waterfall tumbling down the slope would be a wonderful addition to the park, and two days later, a check arrived for $25,000 for construction of the falls.


Information provided by SF Rec and Park Department and Stow Lake Boathouse

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