Mt. Davidson has been on my ‘places to see’ list since we watched Dirty Harry during movie night. In the movie, Harry confronts Scorpio at the base of the cross on top of the mountain [watch it]. Of course, in the movie it seems like it takes him seconds to get up there when in reality it’s more of a trek. Mount Davidson is the highest natural point in San Francisco and, unlike Mt. Olympus, it is located near the geographical center of the city.
Mt. Davidson was the last of our adventure attractions this past Saturday (the other attractions included Garden for the Environment, Hawk Hill, and Edgehill Mountain.) We left Edgehill Mountain, headed across the mini-highway, and up Juanita way towards an entrance to one of the trails.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the eastern side of Mt. Davidson was tree-less at the top of the park. I had expected it to be like Mt. Sutro: covered with trees and therefore lacking in the view department.
This makes for a pretty stunning view of Twin Peaks, SF Downtown, and the eastern side of the city – not to mention on a clear day (like last Saturday) you can even see Oakland in the distance.
The infamous concrete cross stands 103ft tall on the western side of the park. It’s the fourth cross to sit atop Mt. Davidson. The first three were made of wood and were subsequently burned to the ground by arsonists. Learning from their mistakes, this final cross is made of steel and concrete. According to longtime local columnist Herb Caen, the original plans in 1934 called for a cross 100 feet high, but there was “enough concrete on hand for an extra three feet – so on it went.”
Mt. Davidson is one of San Francisco’s original “Seven Hills”. This seven hills include: Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Rincon Hill, Mount Sutro, Twin Peaks and Mount Davidson. Chris works near Telegraph Hill, I used to live on Nob Hill, Emily lives on Russian Hill, we currently live at the base of Mt. Sutro and travel to Twin Peaks frequently – the only one we haven’t been to is Rincon Hill. I smell adventure!
Overall I would say Mt. Davidson has the same conventional San Francisco view and overall vibe as Twin Peaks. However, I like it better because it’s less touristy (they’d actually have to hike to the top instead of riding a bus.) Check out all of my Mt. Davidson photos on flickr! Also check out my collection of all of the San Francisco parks we’ve been to.