Stow Lake

Hidden in the depths of the Golden Gate Park, but fairly close to several hotspots including the De Young Museum, Academy of Sciences, and Japanese Tea Gardens, is a magical man-made lake that wraps around Strawberry Hill, now an island with its own electrically pumped waterfall.  This enchanted water-world is accessible by means of Stow Lake Drive, off of John F. Kennedy Drive or by following Martin Luther King Junior Drive to the steps that lead up to the lake.  The best way to experience Stow Lake is to rent either a rowboat, pedal boat, or electrically powered boat and glide through the water under a beautifully arched red and yellow stone bridge, pass by a Japanese pagoda donated by San Francisco’s sister city, Taipei, or take in a view of Huntington Falls.

Also, you will encounter flora and fauna of all kinds including Mallard Ducks and Herons. While visiting Stow Lake, be sure to hike up to the summit of Strawberry Hill.  Along the way you will see elliptical stone ruins that surround the remains of an old castle know as the Sweeney Observatory, erected in 1891 and destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. Perhaps you may also see the ghost of a woman looking for her child as many claim that this woman haunts the mysterious hill.  A strenuous hike and ghost notwithstanding, the journey to the top is well worth the effort as much of the western portion of the city can be seen from the top of the summit.

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