McLaren Park | Redwood Grove Playground and Group Picnic Area

San Francisco, CA

Tucked amid redwoods high above San Francisco, the Redwood Grove Playground and Group Picnic Area offers a significant and unique playground for children and families.

From 2016-2017, CMG and its partners collaborated with community members, park users, and the city to craft the McLaren Park Vision Plan, to ensure this unique place will remain a signature San Francisco park for the next century. Redwood Grove Playground and Group Picnic Area is the first step in implementing the Vision Plan.

In partnership with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and SF Parks Alliance, Redwood Grove Playground and Group Picnic Area is one of the 13 playground transformations funded by the LetsPlaySF! Initiative. The new playground and picnic area serve the children and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods of Portola, Visitacion Valley, Sunnydale, Crocker-Amazon, Outer Mission, and the Excelsior. CMG donated a significant portion of services to support the effort of bringing playgrounds to underserved communities in San Francisco.

The design reflects the community’s desire to celebrate the park’s natural surroundings and topography. Decrepit play equipment had been removed from a sandpit on the site, leaving two group picnic areas and a large lawn, surrounded by redwoods and trails. CMG took advantage of a sloped area to craft a playground whose accessible path spirals past a natural North American black locust logjam to a climbing tower that offers spectacular views of the city and Bay, as well as a 16’ tube slide. Swings and a hammock are tucked into a native planted slope of redwoods and redbuds. New paths provide accessible routes to the picnic areas, playground, and trails. Much of the playground features permeable surfaces, with the remainder of stormwater collected and detained for groundwater recharge in a large infiltration gallery under the lawn.