The National Park Service celebrates 100 years of recreation in America’s most beautiful places this August, and in honor of the auspicious occasion, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is hosting a number of awesome free events. Two HI USA hostels, HI Marin Headlands and HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, are actually based within the GGNRA, so lucky guests have access to the festivities right at their doorstep, plus the chance to enjoy all the parks have to offer year round. Join the celebrations and take your pick of insightful and fascinating NPS centennial activities!
Saturday, May 28 2016 – A Hike to Hill 88
Ranger Al Blank leads a moderate hike up the historic Hill 88, which is one of the many remains of the Marin Headlands’ historic role in protecting the Bay Area during war times. The hill was a launch site for nuclear missiles during the Cold War, and the Miwok and Wolf Ridge trails which lead to and from the site make for magnificent viewing of the fauna and flora that enrich the area. Ranger Al will be sharing stories of the Nike Missile and the effects the Cold War has on society even today.
9:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. Call 415-331-1540 for a reservation (required)
Saturday, May 28 2016 – Come To Your Senses at Crissy Field
Get to know Crissy Marsh by hearing, seeing, smelling, touching and tasting all there is to experience on this end of the Presidio. During a one-mile walk, you’ll get to taste strawberry treats, look for crabs and get a whiff of the sea shore habitat then finish off with some frolicking in the cypress tree-shaded sand of Crissy Field.
2:00 p.m, to 4:00 p.m. Call 415-561-2805 for a reservation (required)
Sunday, May 29 2016 – May Sunrise Tour of Muir Woods
See the majestic old-growth redwoods of Muir Woods in a different light – specifically, by first light during this sunrise walking tour within the park. The crack of dawn is the best time to spy the wildlife that live in and around the giants, and the walking tour will highlight the relationship between the plants and animals and how they have evolved to survive invasion by humans. The three-mile stroll starts at the Muir Woods Visitor Center and hikers are encouraged to bring water and perhaps a thermos with a hot drink and a pastry to enjoy at Camp Eastwood.
5:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Call 415-388-2596 for a reservation (required)
First Saturday and Sunday of the Month – The Last Gun
Find out how a 50-ton gun can simply disappear at Battery Chamberlin on Baker Beach. The Six-Inch Rifle Gun Number Nine and its disappearing carriage are the last of their kind that are still operational. After witnessing how it all works, you can also see some fascinating historic photos of the century-old Endicott system batteries in an underground cartridge room.
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Call 415-561-4323 in case of rain.
First Sunday of the Month – Battery Townsley Open House
Battery Townsley, which is a moderate half-mile hike from the Rodeo Beach parking lot in the Marin Headlands, has long been closed to public access but is now open for exploration. The newly refurbished site features underground tunnels, gun galleries and former Cold War research facility, which will be demystified by docents on the guided tours.
12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Want to join in the centennial celebrations? Stay at one of these top five HI USA hostels in or near National Parks!