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San Francisco National Cemetery/Presidio

Pros: An historic, idyllic resting place
Cons: No jogging or dogs
Best For: A reading of names with a view of the bay

San Francisco National Cemetery

If tombstones could talk, this military cemetery with a commanding view of San Francisco Bay would spin tales of Civil War battles, Wild West Indian skirmishes and Spanish-American War heroism. In 1854, only eight years after the American Flag was hoisted in the Presidio, the first American soldier was buried here on a promontory within the Army complex. Currently the cemetery occupies 28.34 acres and officially there is no more room for interments, except for those with prior reservations.

Uncommon names and wars long forgotten are engraved on elegant rows of white marble resting-place markers set upon a green sweeping lawn that slopes down towards the water. This place deserves a good walk-through on a day when a bit of mind-clearing is in order. Somber, majestic and surrounded by hundred-year-old forests, the cemetery witnesses a fly-by of a flock of wild parrots twice daily, squawking crazily about how good it is to be alive.

Who's buried here? Heroes include Theron F. Dibble, Rollo H. Vanscoy, Cicero Teague, Colonel William Wallace McCammon, Chester George Beason, Boyle Vernell Stover, and Cyler Coy Le Roy, along with Buffalo Soldiers, Medal of Honor Recipients and Civil War Generals.

Noteworthy: The newly completed National Cemetery Overlook located on the Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Presidio. If driving, take Washington Ave to Nauman Road and park in a residential space. There you will find a sign, "0.1 Mile To Cemetery Overlook".

San Francisco National Cemetery
1 Lincoln Road, Presidio
San Francisco, 94122
Cemetery Director: 650.589.7737
Gate Open From 7am-5pm