Best Little-Known Vistas - 2006
Among the many pleasures of Golden Gate Park is this manmade island rising 412 feet out of Stow Lake. A hundred years ago, its plateaued crest was the site of a pleasure resort with a dance pavilion, a decorative pond, and a windmill-powered reservoir that pumped water over Huntington Falls and fed the park's eight lakes. All that remains is the reservoir and its trickle of a waterfall, but the views from this highest point in the park are as lovely as ever. Two bridges connect the island with the mainland and lead to trails that meander up through the pine, ivy, and grass-covered slopes. The old pavilion site on top is too screened with trees to offer a panoramic view, but its perimeter affords striking snapshots of the ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tam, the Presidio, the spires of USF, the checkerboard Avenues to the north and south, and the park spread out below. The only thing missing is an oompah band and a pretzel vendor.