Known as a real treat for birding enthusiasts, Mallard Lake is a small yet one of the ‘prettier’ bodies of water found in Golden Gate Park. With eye-catching treasures, a scattering of flowers, and increased isolation from crowds, many are quite impressed when they discover the rewards associated with visiting the lake. It is also here that you have a greater chance of encountering some of the more private birds that tend to seek out less frequented locations in the park, such as egrets and blue herons.

Things to Do at Mallard Lake

When visiting Mallard Lake, you might want to take the time to explore the more secluded paths in the woods, which are located on both sides of the street. To enjoy breathtaking views across the lake and beyond, seek out the wooded area on the hill situated behind the lake to the south. This spacious hideaway is largely ignored by most visitors, but the hillside delivers grand views of the park. Others may choose to stay around the perimeter of Mallard Lake. Don’t forget to bring along a pair of binoculars to capture the sights as you follow the path around the lake.

For runners looking for a less-frequented place in Golden Gate Park to train or exercise, Mallard Lake provides an accommodating space to stretch their legs.

Looking to put old breadcrumbs or stale loaf to good use? Head for Mallard Lake, where you will encounter an ideal duck feeding pond. Additionally, the assortment of feathered friends will expand upon the usual mallard population from September through April to include the likes Ring-Necked ducks, Ruddy Ducks, American Wigeons, Buffleheads, and if you’re lucky – the Eurasian Wigeon.

The surrounding willow trees, buckeye trees, stream, and blue flowering ceanothus also contributes to the assortment of birds that come to Mallard Lake. The occasional Black Phoebe, Downy Woodpecker, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Pygmy Nuthatch and Song Sparrow might make a guest appearance. Other birds known to pass through in the wintertime include the Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, and Common Goldeneyes.

Across the street from Mallard Lake, you can enjoy a nice picnic outing with the family at the Elk Glen picnic area – located on the north side of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.


Mallard Lake is found along a section of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in the western stretch of the park.