Grandview Park is off Moraga St. between 14th and 15th aves. What this aptly named park lacks in size it more than makes up for in the spectacular 360-degree views that encompass downtown, Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, the Marin Headlands and the Pacific. This hilltop in the Sunset neighborhood, crowned with several Monterey cypresses and one graceful eucalyptus tree, is not only one of the most delightfully secluded spots in San Francisco, but—to those in the know—also an unsurpassed vantage point for sunset watching.
Longtime residents call the 665-foot-tall outcrop of Franciscan chert rock Turtle Hill. Not all that many years ago the Sunset was nothing but shifting sand dunes, but residential development cut off the supply of ocean sand, and as a result the underlying rock is becoming more and more exposed. Native dune plants like beach strawberry, bush monkey flower and the endangered Franciscan wallflower and dune tansy grow on the hill; all must contend with a harsh, windswept environment and ground that retains little moisture.
Note: Reaching the summit involves climbing two steep sets of stairs. The first set, off Moraga and 14th, zigzags up to the base of the hill. The second set—five flights of 22 steps each—climbs to the top of the hill. A wood fence surrounds the summit, part of an ongoing restoration program to help protect the fragile plant community; stay on the dirt paths to help minimize the effects of erosion.