You have to love the Presidio. When it was used by the military it must have been great for training exercises because of all the dense growth of trees and brush and the sheer size makes it a great place to take a walk around and explore.
One of the few hidden secrets is that it has the only location within San Francisco where you can legally camp. Yep, you read that right, camping in San Francisco. It’s called the Rob Hill Campground and I and a few friends used the place before it was remodeled last year. It now has four campgrounds up from two when we used it and the price has increased a little bit to $100/site. Each site can hold up to 30 campers so if you’ve got a group then the price is more reasonable.
It’s a wonderful place to go and camp and you get to fall asleep to the roar of the Ocean nearby and because of all the trees when the wind picks up in the afternoon it’s not as bad as it could be. When the sun sets is when the fun begins. We were all sitting by the campfire when we started to hear noises. We started to see raccoons, skunks and one coyote sniffing around for scraps. You’ll usually here them rifling through the garbage cans at night so any food you have with you that you haven’t used you might want to pack up in your car or a very secure ice chest. Raccoons and coyotes are notorious for getting into places you wouldn’t expect them to.
A nice addition to the campground is the real bathrooms. When my wife and I went to inspect the place prior to our get together they had the bathrooms locked down and a large badly needed to be cleaned porta-potty. A quick email off to the local city officials and parks department suddenly had not just that bathroom, but every bathroom in the Presidio and Golden Gate Park scrubbed down and refurbished. You can thank me for that.
The only downside, if you can call it a downside is that the Presidio Trust runs the CAP [Camping at the Presidio] program for kids that gets priority over anyone else. That could be a bad thing, but for most kids in San Francisco camping isn’t something you get to do very often without having to drive for about an hour. Here’s what the Presidio Trust has to say about the new campground:
Rob Hill Campground is a hidden Presidio gem and is the only camping facility in San Francisco. The site is a fantastic venue for outdoor learning and fun. To provide children and youth who traditionally have not visited national parks with overnight camping experiences, the Crissy Field Center (operated by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service), the Presidio Trust, and Bay Area Wilderness Training have developed the Camping at the Presidio (CAP) program.
Designed for community organizations and schools, CAP provides a dynamic and affordable way to enrich the lives of young people. CAP trains group leaders with the skills and resources they need to plan and lead a youth camping trip. After program leaders complete an Outdoor Leadership Training program they can begin to prepare for their camping trip to the park. Eligible community and school groups can reserve the campground between March and October.
[mappress mapid=”27″]I have to say that the redo is nice work. The bathrooms are nicer, but don’t have showers still. They’ve developed hiking trails that last time I was there had what looked like some construction work and piles of logs in a muddy area. Now it really looks like a real camping spot. New picnic tables and grills have been installed. We can thank the Haas family for the donations that made this possible. Plus the big bonus is that you have regular park patrols to keep the homeless campers in Golden Gate Park from moving to a new zip code. Check it out some day even if you’re not going to camp. It’s a fun place to hike around. Plus if you do decide to camp you’re not too far away from any needed amenities you forgot to bring with you at the last minute.