The highest point in San Francisco, Mount Davidson overlooks the bay and surrounding metropolitan area. From the east face, Berkeley, Oakland, and downtown San Francisco cast silhouettes against the horizon. The western slope stands in stark contrast to its exposed and grassy counterpart, presenting a thickly wooded aspect more reminiscent of a rainforest.
Eucalyptus trees planted by the 19th-century land baron and former San Francisco mayor Adolph Sutro frame a network of trails that lead to the summit from the residential streets at the park’s edge. Although non-native, the trees provide valuable habitat to hawks and a variety of song birds. The city’s urban coyotes can occasionally be seen at the park.
Originally named Blue Mountain for its lupines, Douglas iris, and other wildflowers, the peak was later named for geographer and Sierra Club board member George Davidson.
Atop Mount Davidson’s 938 feet sits a concrete cross famous for its visibility from afar and its appearance in the film Dirty Harry. The cross lies on private property, sold by the city of San Francisco after years of vandalism and political controversy. Present ownership allows free access to the cross and holds an annual sunrise service on Easter Sunday.
Dogs are welcome on the over 5 miles of trails that weave through the lush foliage of Mount Davidson. At just under half a mile, the most direct route to the cross is from the corner of Myra and Dalewood Way. Trailheads are also located on Juanita Way, Rockdale Drive, and La Bica Way.