Now that we’ve talked about the eastern half of Golden Gate Park we can move to the west end which for me started when you cross over Transverse Drive. First stop is Lloyd Lake which also is home to the portico of a home built by Alban N. Towne that was all remained of the $80,000 mansion after the 1906 earthquake. It’s a nice peaceful place to walk without much traffic.
Across from Lloyd lake you’ll encounter Speedway Meadows which has been home to many free concerts over the years and is now home to the Outsidelands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. For me my fondest memory was being a kid and my Mom letting me and a friend go to a free concert there. It was 1969 and the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and the Jefferson Airplane were playing there. Oddly enough that was the last show for the Jefferson Airplane to play until they came back to play there once again as the Jefferson Starship. Oh, I was seven at the time. Can you imagine a parent letting a seven year old kid go to a free concert alone in the park today?
Across from Speedway Meadows you have the Golden Gate Park Disc Golf Park which I have to say I have never been there, but now I have to check it out because playing golf with frisbees sounds like my kind of game. It looks like it takes up the wooded area to the right of Marx Meadows.
Head west and on your left you’ll find the smaller Lindley Meadow which mostly used by large groups of picnickers. I used to love that meadow until we all discovered that there are tons of wasps nests in the ground and they will inundate you once you get the BBQ going.
As you get to the end of Lindley Meadow you come to Spreckels lake and the model yacht club. When you don’t see model yachtsmen sailing their boats on the lake you’ll usually find a tow truck pulling a car out of the lake that’s been dumped there for fun by some joy riding kids on a weekend bender.
Next to the west are the buffalo. Yes, we have buffalo in the park. We used to have a pen of elk in the park next to them, but apparently during mating season the elk got a bit too frisky and would jump out of the pen. Across from the Bison Paddock while you won’t see it from JFK Drive is the Angler’s Lodge where people with fishing poles can cast their lines into empty pool to catch nothing. Beer drinking is optional.
Past that to the south are the Polo fields where the game of polo hasn’t be played since I can remember, but it has been home to the occasional concert or two. You’ll mostly find joggers running around the field doing pretty much nothing else. This was usually a good place to find teenagers drinking beer which is perfect for the police because their equestrian headquarters is right next door.
Now as you start to head west towards the beach you’ll notice things get a bit more peaceful and calm. This part of the park is mostly open space with the largest part being taken up by the Golden Gate Park Golf Course. This is the “poor people’s” golf course in that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg or a membership fee to play a round if you’re into that. I have friends who have been trying to get me to go with them to play golf there, but I haven’t been tempted yet. Now that I know about the Ironwood BBQ that’s on the course, I might change my mind.
Lastly there are the Soccer Fields that I have yet to see a game there and the Queen Willhelmina Tulip Garden which is undergoing some much needed redevelopment. It was a nice place back in the day, but it definitely needs some work now.
If you’ve come this far you can stop at the Beach Chalet and eat up before catching a few waves and heading back home.
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