Stow Lake
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Located in Golden Gate National Park. Small boats are available for renting to sail Stow Lake.
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Top ways to experience Stow Lake and nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles119 reviews
Excellent
53
Very good
49
Average
9
Poor
5
Terrible
3

TheLeongOhana
United States7,455 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021 • Family
Having been to Golden Gate Park many times to visit the Museums, I was surprised that we had yet to walk around the lake.

A flat path circled the lake and was easy to walk on but we did have to watch out for the surprises left by the noisy geese. Ducks were the other common residents of the lake and were looking for some food while we paused by one of the scenic points.

The boathouse was closed, again for COVID, so we were not able to experience the boat rentals or the small onsite coffee shop.

In the center of the lake was a small island that was accessible by a bridge. The path gradually wound its way upwards while shaded under the towering trees. Also one could visit the small Chinese Pavilion that was a gift from Taipei to the City.

Since we arrived late in the afternoon there wasn’t too many people walking around so street parking was easy to find and we could maintain lots of social distancing.

Written March 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WillieMacfan
Healdsburg, CA844 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Family
Stow Lake is in Golden Gate Park Now only reachable by car via Martin Luther King Drive since John F Kennedy Drive is closed to cars. It can also be reached by footpaths from the areas of the park below it.

Free parking around the lake. You can walk around the lake, feed the ducks, cross one of two bridges to Strawberry Hill Island, walk around the island or to the top of the island hill. You can also, rent paddleboats and/or rowboats and work your way around the island via the water. Also a snack bar with an eating area. There are many photo opportunities-two special sights are Huntington Falls on the island and the Pagoda on the island.

Great place for families and kids or individuals just looking for some space to relax and enjoy nature.
Written November 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GPBurdell67
Asheville, NC1,973 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
Great spot for bird watching and strolling along the lake shore. Lots of little kids having fun in nature.
Written December 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

treefrog1680
Murrieta, CA21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Family
So amazing that this is available. This place is very peaceful and family friendly. We took our boys on a paddleboat ride around the lake, climbed strawberry hill, and ate lunch. Such a great day.
Written July 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Olivia W
San Francisco, CA55 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018 • Friends
A few friends of mine and I were wandering around strawberry hill, enjoying some lovely panoramic views of SF, when we stumbled upon the Stow Lake boat rentals and thought what a lovely way to spend a sunny Saturday in January! There were 5 of us in the party and multiple boats with different capacities. We didn’t want to hastily rent a boat without first knowing whether we could all fit into one together. We first asked a gentleman at the front if any of the paddle boats could seat five, and he directed us to ask the gentleman at the dock to inquire. Patiently, we waited until he seated three different parties into their boats to ask our question. When he turned to us, he brusquely asked, “do you have your rental ticket?” I was only able to get this fraction of a sentence out, “No, we were wondering whether...” before he pivoted on his heel and directed his attention to the party behind us and completely ignored our query. Never have I been so slighted or encountered such rudeness in my entire life.
Written January 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TripCritic A
Los Angeles, CA9 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Family
This used to be a fun destination for children, but now it has turned into an overpriced park feature. Charging to enjoy Stow Lake? The vendors need to be thrown out of the park! They think "all natural beef" hamburgers or hotdogs (on white flour buns) are in some way healthy? I cannot believe they would think the public could possibly be so incredibly ignorant what with the Internet and the rapid flow of information today! Their website even claims to provide Vegan choices. Isn't that rather disingenuous when they still serve animal flesh products?
Written March 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sara Beth
Chattanooga, TN1,271 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2012 • Friends
In our little guide book, Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill were listed as the #1 thing to see in Golden Gate Park. After seeing the Conservatory and the Botanical Gardens, the de Young Museum and the Japanese Garden, Stow Lake looked really chintzy! It's very fake looking, with unnaturally green water, a man-made waterfall (that was turned off at the time) and a ratty reservoir at the top of the hill. The whole things gives off the aura of a mini golf course.

The "lake" is at a decent altitude, the Strawberry Hill in the middle of the lake (really it seemed more like a hill with a moat around it) so it might very well be the highest point in Golden Gate Park, and as such there are some really nice views to be had from the top. I could see this being a great outing for the afternoon, a fun date biking around, sitting in the little pagoda or renting the paddle boats, or a great exercise spot running up and down the hill, but as a destination to come across the country for, it's very skippable.
Written June 21, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mrmotomike
San Francisco, CA203 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Row a boat gently done the lake ! Nice size lake with island in the middle . Lots of wildlife frogs and fun . Easy Rowling and new cafe to enjoy the day ! Great lunch get away
Written March 28, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MN_Travel_Bug_1
Bloomington, MN186 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2011 • Couples
We chose to visit Stow Lake as one of our Golden Gate Park adventures. This lake surrounds Strawberry Hill. For families with children, there are pedal boats and rowboats for rent, plenty of ducks and birds to feed, and an electrically-pumped waterfall. There are 2 different bridges where you can walk over the water to start the jaunt up Strawberry Hill. On the way up you see beautiful redwoods; once on top you can see a great view of the west part of San Francisco. This is a fun hike and great outdoors activity!
Written January 9, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TheShis
Tel Aviv, Israel41,102 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
This is one of the park's largest lakes, which provides a nice stroll if you choose to circle it.
You can also rent pedal boats to enjoy the lake's water.
Written June 1, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Stow Lake - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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