Lover’s Lane Trail is a 0.6 mile path through the Presidio of San Francisco. Along the trail is Andy Goldsworthy’s famous Wood Line, a life-sized sculpture – felled logs creating an aesthetic path through an ethereal, towering eucalyptus grove. Lover’s Lane is often just outside of the fog zone, meaning that sunsets provide magical, golden light through the trees. Most photographers come here for the broad compositional elements – the verticality of the trees and the leading lines created by the meandering logs of the Wood Line. Engagement, couples’, and maternity photo sessions are favorites here. As a family photographer, I also love the surrounding woods. Kids find endless hidden pockets to explore, with wonderful light and textures that truly bring these family photos to life.
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Parking for Lovers’ Lane Trail
Address – 718A Liggett Ave, San Francisco, CA 94129
The Wood Line at Lovers’ Lane is located amidst a small Presidio neighborhood, and it is important to respect their space. If you are able to arrive via rideshare or public transportation, I highly suggest doing so.
It is possible to street park, but please note the posted time limitations and any new permit requirements. Here are some better parking options not too far away –
- Morton Feild Parking Lot
- Lovers’ Lane West Pacific Ave. Trailhead Parking
- Paid parking & restrooms at the Presidio Officers’ Club
No matter where you park, please stay on sidewalks or paved trails as you make your way to the Wood Line. It’s really easy to end up in someone’s yard without meaning to. Again, we want to respect the space of those who live in this popular location!
Smash and grabs happen here, as they do just about everywhere in the city. More worrisome is the fact that photographers have a history of getting personally threatened and robbed for their equipment. Be observant and cautious, and if you are working with equipment that you are not willing to part with, consider working somewhere else!
Lovers’ Lane Photography
San Francisco photographers frequent the Lovers’ Lane trail for its compositional elements. A towering eucalyptus forest arching over the center path creates natural framing for anything you want to photograph. The Wood Line sculpture itself can be used to draw the eye towards a subject or to create balance in an image. During Lovers’ Lane engagement or maternity photo sessions, we spend a lot of time with the subject right in the middle of the main path, really bringing the focus to them and their connection.
A Kid Friendly Photo Location
With kids, I find that you have to narrow your view if you want to capture them connecting to their natural environment. Lovers’ Lane Trail has plenty of space for balancing on logs, playing with the long strands of eucalyptus bark scattered on the forest floor, or exploring the inevitable wooden lean-to’s that have been constructed just off the main path. This is a great spot for little kids because it is at once endlessly fascinating, and relatively compact. They tend to have a great time while naturally staying nearby.
Click here to view a sample family photo session gallery from Lovers’ Lane!
Golden Hour vs. Midday Light
The natural light here changes dramatically throughout the day. Spindly eucalyptus trees provide less shade than you might expect. There’s a certain aesthetic to the sunny midday, but most session photographers will probably opt for golden hour – the hour after sunrise or before sunset. Give yourself some extra time before or after, knowing that the sun might rise a little later or set a little earlier than it would at the coast, but don’t expect the forest to provide a whole lot of shade midday.
Pro tip – if it’s going to be overcast or foggy, the usual golden hour becomes dark & challenging for the use of exclusive natural light. Two or three hours after sunrise or before sunset provides lovely portrait lighting amidst the Lovers’ Lane forest.
Although I mentioned that the coastal fog often stops short of the Lovers’ Lane trail, that is not always the case. During summer, especially the month of August, persistent fog will sometimes blanket the area. If you need to schedule during this time, be flexible and ready to lean into the foggy forest aesthetic. Starting in October, you often see the Bay Area’s best weather of the year, with warmer temperatures and clear skies. The winter can bring rain, but it can also bring crisp, clear days with no one around. Dress warm – it’s extra chilly in the dense Presidio Forests! Lastly, Lovers’ Lane in San Francisco is actually a great escape from the ferocious springtime coastal winds. If you are scheduling a session in April, May, or June, the Wood Line is a great option!
The weather in San Francisco is variable, and the fog is hard to predict. Choosing the right season is a great start, but offers no guarantee.
To figure out what weather to expect on the day of your session, start with the Nation Weather Service point forecast for Lovers’ Lane. On the day of your photoshoot, these resources can be very helpful –
What to Wear for Forest Photos
For general wardrobe suggestions, check out my Family Photoshoot Guide – What to Wear.
Specifically for the forest at Lovers’ Lane, I would strongly suggest avoiding a few things. Stay away from solid greens as they blend into the foliage. Similarly, too many beige and brown tones can blend into the eucalyptus trees and the leaf litter of the ground.
The forest backdrop is relatively busy, so I would avoid adding to that with strong patterns. Solid colors are best. Most shades of blue and red look great at the Wood Line, and some splashes of white, off-white, and dusty oranges or yellows work really well also. A little extra contrast helps you stand out from the busy background. Textured items like knit sweaters or scarves can add depth to your images.
Footwear should be considered with practicality in mind. The Lovers’ Lane trail is dirt, and during most photo sessions I spend at least half of my time wandering around the soft (sometimes a little muddy) forest floor. High heels are not recommended! Leather boots are a favorite choice and they look great at Lovers’ Lane.
About the Andy Goldsworthy Wood Line
Lovers’ Lane Trail was a shortcut established by Spanish soldiers and missionaries to reach Mission Dolores from the Presidio. It is so named because those same soldiers often used the trail to reach their lovers.
From the Presidio’s webpage on Lovers’ Lane Trail –
“Visitors walking down Lovers’ Lane probably don’t realize they’re just steps away from an iconic work by world renowned artist Andy Goldsworthy.
“Tucked into a forest grove, Wood Line is a 1,200-foot sculpture made of Eucalyptus branches claimed from the Presidio’s program to rejuvenate the park’s forest, planted by the U.S. Army beginning in the 1880s. People of all ages love walking alongside – and even balancing on top of – the sculpture.
“Completed in 2011, Wood Line will one day fade back into the earth. But until then, don’t miss this chance to experience a visionary take on the Presidio’s ever-changing landscape.“
Thanks for being here. I’m David Enloe, a San Francisco family photographer. I make soul-stirring pictures for families that find adventure around every corner. Want to learn more about the person behind the camera?