Day Trip Adventure: Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park

Stroll around Stow Lake, hike to the top of Strawberry Hill, paddle a boat around Stow Lake.

Cody Tolmasoff
3 min readMay 11, 2020

This is part of a series of family-oriented day trip outings around the San Francisco Bay Area I look forward to enjoying with my kids once social distancing and shelter in place isn’t the norm any longer.

Stow Lake Boat House by Cody Tolmasoff

Stroll around Stow Lake — A Bonus Adventure

One of my favorite holiday traditions growing up was taking a Christmas day walk with my family around Stow Lake and to the top of Strawberry Hill. When we would get out-of-town visitors, we would often go for a walk around the lake, look for the ruins of the Sweeney Observatory that was once at the top of Strawberry Hill, walk down Huntington Falls, visit the Pagoda, and cross the Rustic and Roman bridges.

Adventure: Stroll around Stow Lake

  1. Stroll around Stow Lake
  2. Hike to the top of Strawberry Hill
  3. Paddle a boat around Stow Lake

Stroll around Stow Lake

Rustic Bridge at Stow Lake by Cody Tolmasoff

A stroll around Stow Lake itself is a flat 1-mile loop. You’ll pass by the boathouse, the Rustic Bridge, the Roman Bridge, you’ll see the Pagoda over on the island, and Huntington Falls. Stow Lake was originally conceived in the 1870s as a reservoir and irrigation system and finished construction in 1893. Water would be pumped to a reservoir at the top of Strawberry Hill to create water pressure to irrigate the park, transforming the sandy landscape to the lush park we know today. Donations from prominent businessmen and local landowners got them naming rights…



Cody Tolmasoff

Parent-adventurer, creating memories for my two daughters around the SF Bay Area. Author & publisher at @adventuringin & Chief Happiness Officer at @kiddiewalks