Download the map as a PDF>>> Mt. Davidson Trail Map PDF
Access the Mount Davidson Trail Map Web Application>>> Mt. Davidson Trail Map Web Application
Access the Mount Davidson Photo Gallery Map>>> Mt. Davidson Photo Gallery Map
Mount Davidson, the tallest hill in San Francisco, is a short,steep walk uphill from where I live. The peak is listed as between 927 and 938 feet by various sources. The park consists of 40 acres of forest on the western side and coastal scrub to the east. The mountain was originally named Blue Mountain for the lupine, lilacs, and iris found there.
In 1911, the mountain was renamed by the Sierra Club after George Davidson, a surveyor and President of the Academy of Sciences.
Adolph Sutro was responsible for planting the blue eucalyptus trees that dominate the forest. The park was established in 1929 through the concerted efforts of Madie Brown. In 1934, the large concrete cross was dedicated with Franklin Roosevelt participating from Washington, D.C. by throwing the telegraph switch to illuminate the cross
The park is home to many varieties of plants, trees, birds, and wildlife. There are even over 20 species of bees! There are fantastic views of the city from the eastern side of the hill.
Trails criss-cross the park, with spurs disappearing and reappearing in the frequent fog. There are no signed trail names, so I was inspired during my walks to capture GPS data and create a trail map for others to enjoy. I used an iPhone 6 plus a Bad Elf Surveyor GPS to capture tracks and points of interest.
Given the forest canopy on much of the hillside, GPS readings for a trail could vary up to 50 feet, even on the same out and back trip even with good coverage from both GPS and GLONASS satellites. Geographic Dilution of Precision (GDOP) values were also low, but accuracy ranged from under 10 feet to over 60 feet. The resulting trails are an interpretation of the GPS data. Those using the map should use common sense when following trails and good judgement as this is an urban park.
Other data included contours, bus lines, bus stop, streets, and park shapefiles from data.sfgov.org. The book, Stairway Walks in San Francisco, by Adah Bakalinsky, provided names for many of the trails. The map is available as a downloadable PDF, web application, and a combined web map and photo gallery.
There are many fine websites with a wealth of information about Mount Davidson.
- San Francisco Recreation and Park
- Save Mount Sutro Forest
- San Francisco Forest Alliance
- Sutro Stewards
- Mount Davidson Cross–Official Site
- City Guides Walk