Hawk Hill Visitor Improvement Project


Restoration efforts to preserve native plants and stabilize key historic resources in 2011 set the stage for Hawk Hill’s current Visitor Improvement Project. The Project will continue through at least 2023, and has been divided into three phases:

A person operates construction equipment along a Hawk Hill trail on a very foggy day.
Recontouring above Casemate 1 during Phase I.


Phase I - New Hilltop Trail

Completed in 2017, NPS trail crews replaced the existing Hawk Hill Trail with a new, accessible route to the top of Hawk Hill that included rest stops and overlooks. Habitat restoration reduced erosion, and informal foot-traffic trails were planted with native species. The area above Casemate 1 (one of two structures that house the historic gun pits) was recontoured and restored to native habitat.
An overhead view of Hawk Hill, with the parking lot next to a trail leading up to the top where one can see the old Nike radar buildings.
One of Hawk Hill's two tunnels is visible in this photo.

Frank Schmidt NPS

Phase II – New Tunnel Loop Trail

This phase commenced in April 2021 and focuses on a new accessible Tunnel Loop Trail. The project will improve segments of the Tunnel Loop Trail including the Battery Construction’s three tunnels, two enhanced overlooks at the casemates, and a trail connecting the casemates. Visitors will enjoy sweeping views of the Point Bonita Lighthouse, the Pacific Ocean, and the Marin Headlands. Visitor amenities will also include new vault toilets, seating, bike racks, and trash cans. Additionally, the unsafe historic air shaft and fuel tanks will be sealed and existing damaged railings will be replaced.

No road closures are anticipated in the immediate future. Public access to some portions of the site, particularly around the casemates and connecting trail, will be restricted during construction. Access to the hilltop will be provided throughout the construction process. In order to get to the top, walk up the dirt road pictured in the accompanying photo. It will be behind a white service gate at the west end of the parking area, just before the one-way stretch of Conzelman Road begins.

The close up of a sign that asks visitors to stay on trail so that new plants for Mission Blue Butterflies will not be trammeled.
Phase III will augment visitor amenities as well as provide protection for unique habitat.

Lara Volski NPS

Phase III – Hilltop Rehabilitation

The final phase of the Project will focus on the hilltop: aging historic structures will be rehabilitated, visitor access will be improved, and overlooks and seating will be replaced. The Project will add important safety features, such as new guard rails and curbs, and improved signage and fencing. New interpretive elements will share the site’s role in raptor migration, mission blue butterfly protection, and U.S. military history. As a former military site, areas around Hawk Hill have contamination from past uses. NPS is investigating hazardous material clean-up alternatives at Hawk Hill pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act or CERCLA. Clean-up actions at Hawk Hill will be completed as part of Phase 3; learn more about the Hawk Hill CERCLA process.

Last updated: April 25, 2021

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Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


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