Nature

Rolling hills in the background, red blossoms in the foreground.
 

As development expands throughout California and other areas of the country, urban national parks and their natural resources become increasingly important. National parks in the San Francisco Bay region, including the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, house an amazing richness of biological diversity due to the variety of habitats and unique geology of the area.

Over half of the bird species of North America and nearly one third of California's plant species are found within Golden Gate. Of those, 37 are listed as federally threatened or endangered.

The Recreation Area preserves a 91-mile swath of shoreline along the outer coast of the San Francisco Bay Area. Various other agencies and private owners manage lands within the park's legislative boundaries. Because of the multiple landowners, many Bay Area residents and park visitors think of our park in terms of isolated sites such as Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, the Marin Headlands, and the Presidio.

The bigger picture is one of interconnected pockets of nature, wildlife corridors, and refuges for rarities. Traveling through the park connects you with windswept beaches, dramatic cliffs, coastal chaparral, low mountains, swaths of prairie, live oak woodlands, salt marshes, freshwater wetlands and creeks, and redwood forests. All you have to do is get out and explore!

 

Explore Nature at Golden Gate

  • Natural resources staff and volunteers pause for a photo on a flower-filled hillside.

    Natural Resource Management

    The Natural Resources division works to understand and care for the abundant natural treasures found within Golden Gate.

  • Close-up image of a bobcat in tall grass.

    Animals

    The Recreation Area is home to nearly 53 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles, and 11 species of amphibians.

  • Photo shows a patchwork of colorful dune scrub plants.

    Plants

    Golden Gate’s Mediterranean climate supports a diverse array of flowers and other plants.

  • Aerial image of coastal geology.

    Environmental Factors

    Learn about the abiotic (non-living) factors that shape the environment of Golden Gate, such as climatic shifts and geologic processes.

  • Image of beach ecosystem, with colorful vegetation in the foreground.

    Natural Features & Ecosystems

    Golden Gate supports a wide variety of ecosystems and habitats, including beaches, forests, wetlands, and coastal prairies.

  • Landscape photo of a foggy Mount Diablo.

    Climate Change

    As a result of global warming, our Earth's changing climate will continue to profoundly alter national parks including Golden Gate.

  • Close up of the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake

    Threatened & Endangered Species

    Learn more about the many at-risk species that call Golden Gate home.

  • Presidio clarkia

    Species Lists

    Create your own species list for plants and animals at Golden Gate.

  • Landscape photo of foggy headlands.

    Biosphere Reserve

    Find out why the incredible biological richness of Golden Gate distinguishes it as a UNESQO Biosphere reserve.

Last updated: November 18, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco , CA 94123-0022

Phone:

415 561-4700

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