Regional


Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area is a group started by health care providers and park guides to help San Francisco Bay Area residents explore the parks near them while improving their mental and physical health.

Being outside in parks offers several benefits:

  • Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improves mood
  • Provides opportunities for physical activities
  • Can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension
  • Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints
  • Introduces neighbors to each other

Join Healthy Parks Healthy People for free, easy, and family-friendly nature walks every Saturday. Refer to the calendar below for information on when and where the walks meet. Click on the walk you are interested in for a more detailed description of the activity. In order to make the most of the nature walk, please be sure to dress comfortably, wear sneakers or walking shoes, bring a water bottle, and bring sun protection.

For more information please contact us at health@instituteatgoldengate.org.

Upcoming Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area Events in February and March 2015

*Click on the maps to expand them. See the calendar at the bottom of the page for future events.

Walk a Wetland at Heron’s Head Park

When: Sat, February 28, 10:00am – 12:30pm

Where: The EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park, 909 Florida, San Francisco, CA 94110-2819 (Near Jennings Street off Cargo way)

Description: You can learn all about the history and natural areas in an easy walk along San Francisco’s very own Bay Trail. Beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay are just one of the treasures you’ll observe on this walk. Our walks are free for all and require no pre-registration. Our professional RPD Guides will provide a short interpretive program designed specifically for each location. The staff will have first aid equipment and are certified in CPR. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department works in partnership with the Institute at the Golden Gate to provide the Healthy Parks, Healthy People program. HPHP Bay Area launched a coordinated effort to provide approachable, culturally relevant park programming for communities with high health needs. This event is organized by San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (http://sfrecpark.org/).

Important Information: Please remember to bring your water and sunscreen. Check local weather forecasts – Trail Walks will be canceled due to unsafe conditions and/or rain.

Contact: For more information email lisa.mchenry@sfgov.org

Healthy Nature Walk in Alviso

When: Sat, March 7, 9:00am - 11:00am

Where: Alviso Marina County Park, 1195 Hope St, Alviso, CA 95002, United States. Meet at the Marina parking lot.

Description: Take an easy 2-mile nature walk through the wetland marshes of this beautiful bayside park. Explore the fantastic views and unique wildlife that call this park home. 

Important Information: Please remember to bring your water and sunscreen. Check local weather forecasts – Trail Walks will be canceled due to unsafe conditions and/or rain.

Contact: Questions? Call (408) 355-2240

Walk at the Park at Stow Lake

When: Sat, March 7, 10:00am - 12:00pm

Where: Stow Lake Boathouse, Stow Lake Drive East, San Francisco, CA, United States

Description: Our walks are free for all and require no pre-registration. Our professional RPD Guides will provide a short interpretive program designed specifically for each location. The staff will have first aid equipment and are certified in CPR. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department works in partnership with the Institute at the Golden Gate to provide the Healthy Parks, Healthy People program. HPHP Bay Area launched a coordinated effort to provide approachable, culturally relevant park programming for communities with high health needs. This event is organized by San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (http://sfrecpark.org/).

Important Information: Please remember to bring your water and sunscreen. Check local weather forecasts – Trail Walks will be canceled due to unsafe conditions and/or rain. 

Contact: For more information email lisa.mchenry@sfgov.org

Walk with a Doc Ravenswood

When: Sat, March 7, 10:00am – 11:00am

Where: Ravenswood Open Space Preserve, East Palo Alto, CA. Parking: The end of Bay Road.

Description: Enjoy a stroll with bilingual physician volunteers who can answer your health questions. All are invited to this free community health program. Walkers receive a free pedometer, bottled water, and a healthy snack. Join us and take a step toward better health! This event is hosted by Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and San Mateo County Medical Association Community Service Foundation. Find more information at www.openspace.org/events. Sign up at http://smcma.org/walkwithadoc or call (650) 312-1623.

Back Through Time - Monte Bello

When: Sat, March 7, 10:00am – 1:00pm

Where: Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, Los Gatos, CA 95033.

Description: Travel down the Stevens Creek Nature Trail to learn about the evolutionary history of ferns and other plants with docents Debbie Mytels, Zack Miller, and Sara Witt. As you travel down the canyon, you'll keep an eye out for a variety of ferns growing in the shady creek bed, and discuss how these delicate denizens pre-date the evolution of flowering plants. On the return route, you'll stop at a sag pond and observe other ancient plants. Wear shoes with good tread since you may have to cross shallow creek waters. The hike will be about 3 miles. Find more information at www.openspace.org/events

Log Off - Free a Tree

When: Sat, March 7, 10:00am – 12:30pm

Where: 1895 Geary Rd, Sunol Regional Wilderness, CA 94586. (Old Green Barn Visitor Center)

Description: Wi-Fight your true nature on this International Day of Unplugging? Connect to healthy parks by looking for log-bridges and log-homes and helping trees before they turn into logs. It's log-ical!

Contact: (510) 544-3243 

Headlands Art Adventure - Point Bonita

When: Sat, March 7, 11:00am - 12:30pm

Where: Point Bonita YMCA, 981 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA, United States

Description: Come to Point Bonita YMCA for a Marin Headlands adventure in art! We will look at the work of Andy Goldsworthy for inspiration then create our own momentary nature art. Working individually or collectively, we will gather natural objects among the eucalyptus groves or on the beach to create amazing sculptures. We will also discover and examine the natural wonders of the Marin Headlands beaches and coastline! Open up your creative mind and enter into the art of nature!

Healthy Parks, Healthy People Hike - Coyote Hills

When: Sat, March 7, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

Where: Coyote Hills Regional Park, 8000 Patterson Ranch Rd, Fremont, CA 94555, United States

Description: Combine being outdoors with a little bit of exercise and surprise yourself with how great it makes you feel. Join us for a leisurely stroll to explore and learn about the natural world around us and invigorate both the body and mind. No registration required; Drop-in program only. (12+ years)

Contact: For more information call (510) 544-3220

Healthy Parks Healthy People - Family Fun Fitness

When: Sat, March 7, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Where: Presidio Main Post Parking Lot, Anza Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129, United States

Where to Meet: We will be meeting at the Main Post Parade Ground in front of the Presidio Visitor Center on 105 Montgomery St.

Description: Fitness doesn't have to be boring. Join the HPHP family to learn how we can work out our bodies while playing fun games and exploring the Golden Gate National Parks. Wear comfortable exercise clothing you can move in and don't mind getting dirty. Don't forget your water bottles. We will be meeting at the Main Post Parade Ground in front of the Presidio Visitor Center on 105 Montgomery St. All ages and fitness levels welcome. 

Contact: Please call the Presidio Visitor Center: (415) 561-4323 or visit: https://www.smore.com/bs1g, for reservations and program details.

Families on Foot

When: Sat, March 7, 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Where: MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline, 7001 Edgewater Dr, Oakland, CA 94616. Meet at Arrowhead Marsh.

Description: Blaze the trail and stay fit on this family-friendly hike. We'll explore, learn, play and be active in nature as we discover the parks that help keep us healthy.  

Contact: (510) 544-3243

Walk along Lake Merced

When: Sat, March 14, 10:00am – 1:30pm

Where: Lake Merced - Meet at the Penguin Prayer Statue at Lake Merced Blvd Parking Lot

Description: This 4 mile loop trail includes beautiful views of San Francisco’s very own native wetlands providing opportunities to see bird species and impressive wild plants. Learn about the history surrounding the lake as we meet new animal and plant species alike. This event is organized by San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (http://sfrecpark.org/).

Walk a Trail at McLaren Park

When: Sat, March 21, 10:00am – 12:30pm

Where: McLaren Park Trailhead - located on the parking lot southwest of Mansel St. and Visitation Ave.

Description: Join us for a walk on the Philosopher's Way trail, which meanders through McLaren Park, weaving onto vistas of the city and the Bay Area and into groves of redwoods and cypress. The 2.7 mile trail loop holds expansive views of the region. The walk starts with light stretching, followed by a guided walk along the trail, which contains 14 markers or "musing stations" that try to evoke perspectives on history and are intended to stimulate contemplation. This event is organized by San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (http://sfrecpark.org/).

Walk with a Doc Windy Hill

When: Sat, March 21, 10:00am – 11:00am

Where: Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, Portola Valley. This activity will meet at an offsite location - directions will be provided when you sign up.

Description: Enjoy a stroll with bilingual physician volunteers who can answer your health questions. All are invited to this free community health program. Walkers receive a free pedometer, bottled water, and a healthy snack. Join us and take a step toward better health! This event is hosted by Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and San Mateo County Medical Association Community Service Foundation. Find more information at www.openspace.org/events. Sign up at http://smcma.org/walkwithadoc or call (650) 312-1623.

Contributing Partners

Bay Area Open Space Council
California State Parks
Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland
Crissy Field Center
East Bay Regional Park District
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, NPS
Greater Vallejo Recreation District
Institute at the Golden Gate

John Muir National Historic Site, NPS
Latino Outdoors
Marin County Parks
Marin Health and Human Services

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District
National Park Service, Pacific West Region
Network for a Healthy California
Point Bonita YMCA, YMCA of San Francisco

Point Reyes National Seashore Association
Point Reyes National Seashore, NPS

Rosie the Riveter / WWII Home Front National Historical Park, NPS

San Francisco Bay Trail Project
San Francisco Department of Public Health
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, NPS

San Francisco Parks Alliance
San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department
San Mateo County Parks
Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority
SF State University
Solano County Department of Health and Social Services
Solano County Parks and Recreation Division
Sonoma County Parks
U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region
U.S. FWS, Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge