While Blueberry Hill is quite the popular jingle, Strawberry Hill is a real location that showcases an amazing explosion of every shade of green imaginable. This Golden Gate Park attraction is a gift from nature in the form of an island that is situated in the middle of Stow Lake. A pretty engaging lot of activities and sights beckon the visitor looking for a refreshing excursion about San Francisco.
Measuring close to 430 feet into the air and serving as the highest point in the entire park, some of the best views of surrounding vicinities are captured at the Hill, including Mt. Tamalpais and the Golden Gate Bridge. Today, your journey through the island begins at either the Rustic Bridge or the Roman Bridge at Stow Lake, which are located on opposite sides of Strawberry Hill. These connections provide access to the trails reaching the top of the Hill and have been leading visitors to the inside of this paradise since 1893.
Things to Do
When paying a visit to Strawberry Hill, there are plenty of accessories to bring along that might make your stay in the area more enjoyable. A pair of binoculars, good book, digital camera, bagged lunch, or picnic spread are just some of the items that will enhance your time at Strawberry Hill, which does a pretty good job on its own entertaining the masses. Below you will find a few suggestions for activities and features to consider:
a) Visit the Waterfall: When visiting Strawberry Hill, don’t forget to bring along your camera so you may take a photo of the artificially made waterfall that is brought to life through the pumping of electrically delivered energy.
b) Meditate at the Golden Gate Pavilion: Relaxing vegetation and shimmering water surrounds the Chinese temple-like structure, which was a gift from Taipei to the city of San Francisco. Serving as an act of friendship and cultural respect, the attraction also commemorates the early Chinese settlers involvement in the growth of California. The striking sea green, red, and white shades of color make the pavilion a soothing addition to Strawberry Hill.
c) Get in Shape: Whether you hike, walk, jog, or run your way towards fitness, the encouraging foliage creates colorful motivation. Pleasant walking paths decorate the island with a few connecting bridges leading the way through dazzling presentations of trees and other green delights. For a modest challenge, runners like running to the top of the hill with the reward of a beautiful view at the end of their journey.
d) Enjoy the Water: A visit to Strawberry Hill brings you closer to enjoying the beauty and calm of Stow Lake as you spend some time on a pedal boat, electric boat, or row boat. The Stow Lake Boathouse offers first-come, first served rentals on a daily basis. For larger groups, the Boathouse also has passenger pedal boats available that accommodate 4-6 people. The opportunity to bask in the warmth of the sun while paddling or floating across the glistening water really sets the mood for both romantic interludes or a lazy, weekend rest.
e) Bird Watch and Observe the Wildlife: What better place to view an assortment of feathered critters than an island of green? Strawberry Hill is home to a variety of birds that hide and glide through the many varieties of trees. Colorful swallowtail butterflies and monarchs also contribute to the wildlife of the Strawberry Hill community. In the water, ducks greet visitors with eager anticipation for a few crumbs, while turtles meander about surrounding rocks and logs.
The Story Behind Strawberry Hill
The name of this centrally located piece of land in Stow Lake comes from the wild strawberries that once decorated the exterior. Throughout the years, the plentiful nature of the wood strawberry was replaced by the aggressive takeover of cape ivy and ice plant hailing from South Africa.
Strawberry Hill in its heyday delivered the sweet scent of wild berries, which are particularly pleasant and intoxicating after a downpour. Today, the presence of the strawberries is not entirely lost; vigilant examination of the sandy slopes may disclose the whereabouts of a few surviving patches. Additional blooms and other equally refreshing plants about the island include the Christmas berry, Dutchman’s pipevine, milkweed, seaside daisy, and Hooker’s evening primrose.
Boathouse Phone: (415) 702-1390
Boathouse Hours: Boat rentals are offered on a daily basis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Row Boats – $21.50/hour
Pedal Boats – $27.00/hour
Electric Boats – $37.00/hour
4-6 Passenger Pedal Boats – $37.00/hour
Interesting Fact: Haunted-themed walking tours are led throughout the Stow Lake area, including Strawberry Hill regarding a 100-year ghost legend: The Lady of Stow Lake.