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The Merced Heights Park with Two Names: Lakeview and Ashton Mini Park/Orizaba Shields Rocky Outcrop

Name: Lakeview and Ashton Mini Park
Neighborhood: Merced Heights
Elevation: 515 feet

March 5, 2017

In our quest to climb all the hills in San Francisco, Brett and I took a five-mile walk one-way walk to reach a few San Francisco neighborhoods I'd never visited, including Merced Heights and Ingleside, and Westwood Highlands.

We're still trying to determine what counts as its own hill and what is a foothill of another larger hill. This led us to explore a bunch of hills, only two of which will actually remain on our work-in-progress final list.

This post is about one of these two hills, situated in what's called Lakeview and Ashton Mini Park or Orizaba Shields Rock Outcrop Park, a small 0.5-acre natural area situated atop a Franciscan sandstone knob. Though this is the tallest point in the area, it stands just 25 feet above the rest of the neighborhood. As we visited in the rainy season, the short trails to the top were surrounded by lush, green grass.

Looking north from Orizaba Shields Park
Though the park is small, it offered impressive panoramic views. To the north, we could see Mt. Davidson, Sutro Tower, and Mt. Tam. To the south, we could see San Bruno Mountain. To the east, we could see as far as Mt. Diablo. And to the west, we could see the Farallon Islands and the Pacific Ocean.

If you want to visit this hill and park, you can enter from Orizaba Avenue, Shields Street, or Lakeview Avenue.

View of Mt. Tam through the trees in Brooks Park
Since you probably won't spend more than 15 minutes on this hill, I recommend heading to neighboring Brooks Park from here. Brooks Park was named for Jesse and Helen Brooks, who bought the land where the hill sits in 1936. It's now a 3.77-acre park and community garden. It has a shaded picnic area and a grassy hillside with unobstructed western views. You can enter Brooks Park from Shields Street. 

In 9+ years of living in San Francisco, I hadn't visited this area of the city. It was great to explore somewhere new and find amazing parks. I'm excited to see what else this project brings!


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