Battery Bluff's Blaney Site (Courtesy of Presidio Trust)

Battery Bluff to Open at The Presidio on April 23

Ferry riders seeking a stunning view of the Bay from a fresh perspective may wish to venture out for a short outing to San Francisco’s Presidio next month.

The Presidio Trust will open the historic Battery Bluff there on April 23, inviting visitors to enjoy six acres of beautifully restored park land that features gardens, picnic tables, overlooks with sweeping views of the Golden Gate, a multi-use trail and access to historic military batteries not seen by the public since 1936.

Battery Bluff marks a milestone in the completion of a 30+ year, multi-agency construction effort to replace the outdated Doyle Drive freeway with the Presidio Parkway. Federal, city, and state agencies came together to fund and deliver the Presidio Parkway, which utilized a community-backed design by designer Michael Painter that fulfilled transportation needs, improved access to the Presidio, and upheld standards for a national park setting.

The entire park-making project restores 50 acres in the Presidio. Highlights are Battery Bluff and Cavalry Bowl. Designed by Page and TRC, and built by Plant Construction, it is the six acres on the tops of the western set of tunnels over the Presidio Parkway, and the adjacent ten under the raised highway, by the Park Police horse stables and the beloved Presidio Pet Cemetery. Seven acres of new tidal marsh opened at Quartermaster Reach in December of 2020, and 14 acres at Presidio Tunnel Tops over the eastern set of highway tunnels will complete the final section of the project, set to open later in 2022.

Four historic gun batteries Slaughter, Baldwin, Sherwood and Blaney will be on view to the public at Battery Bluff for the first time since the construction of Doyle Drive began in 1936. Built between 1899 and 1902, they were originally called the National Cemetery Batteries and were part of The U.S. Army’s coastal defense system around the Golden Gate to protect San Francisco Bay—fifteen around Fort Scott in the Presidio, and more in the Marin Headlands. The Trust oversaw extensive work to clean, repair, stabilize, and interpret the batteries at Battery Bluff, making them newly accessible to visitors.