San Francisco Hills Map v.2

After extensively researching the hills of San Francisco, especially their names and heights, I have updated the San Francisco Topography Map, aka the 2013 San Francisco Hills Map. In addition to featuring more peaks names and elevations than the 2012 map, I have also added some land features and neighborhoods such as Ocean Beach, Cow Hollow and Polk Gulch. The map maintains the topographic lines, showing elevation changes every 25 feet, and has color styling like an old school atlas, changing color every 100 feet.

You can purchase the new 16"x16" map, printed on high quality heavyweight stock paper at Local Take, a great store in the Castro on 17th Street at Castro that opened last spring. The shop is located at 3979 17th Street, just past Little Orphan Andy's, in front of the F-Market streetcar stop. The store predominantly features local artwork including posters, woodwork, and photography, as well as t-shirts, jewelry, pillows, clothing and more. Owner/shopkeepers Kyra and Jenn will make you feel at home.

You can also order the print via Zazzle, but it will be different types of paper.

Close up of the SF Topo Map including Point Lobos and Ocean Beach. Image: Urban Life Signs/Brian Stokle
While researching more physical features, I found that much of San Francisco lacked geographic names before it was a city so I have added some new names that have origins in historic references or refer to today's neighborhood names. You'll notice places such as Sunset Plain in the Sunset, Mission Lowlands in the Mission, and Yerba Buena Fill where Yerba Buena Cove once existed, and is more commonly known as the Financial District – a name that doesn't have much of a geographic ring to it.

Several of the Forgotten Hills have been labeled or have an elevation marker including La Portezuela, and Fort Mason's Black Point.
Close up of Twin Peaks, the Castro, Noe Valley, Mission and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. Image: Urban Life Signs/Brian Stokle

Full print of the map, including a wide white border. Image: Urban Life Signs/Brian Stokle
Note that the new version is more geographically accurate by including Marin, although you don't see much due to the title. Many more peaks have been included. The older version had 29 peaks listed with heights, while the new one has over 50 peaks with elevations included. In addition, several elevation heights have been updated including:
  • Russian Hill - 318' +15' 
  • Potrero Hill - 308' +8' 
  • Rincon Hill - 105' -15'
  • Strawberry Hill - 308' +13' 
  • Presidio Hill - 105' +5' 
Multiple sources were referred to in determining the heights. Although it's unclear what the exact heights of most hills, many of the elevations and hill names are based on research and work by SF Gazetteer, 47 Hills, and the USGS map of San Francisco available on TopoQuest.

You can also find the street map version (12x12) of the San Francisco Archipelago map at Local Take. A collaboration between myself and Burrito Justice, the map shows what San Francisco would look like if all of the ice caps in the world (Greenland and Antarctica) completely melted. Note that even if this happened, we'd likely be long gone before it happens since that's a lot of ice to melt, and ice takes a while to melt, even if the Earth got to tropical temperatures in areas like North America.
Image: Burrito Justice and Brian Stokle
You can easily determine whether you'll be flooded out, have coastline property, or be high and dry.
Close up of the Excelsior, Sunnyside, Portola and Glen Park neighborhoods. Image: Burrito Justice and Brian Stokle

Areas that are "safe" include much of Bernal Heights, Upper Haight, Laurel Heights, the Inner Sunset, all of Ocean Avenue, and nearly all of the Excelsior neighborhood.
Close up of the dryer neighborhoods including the Inner Sunset, Upper Height, Laurel Heights, and parts of NoPa. Image: Burrito Justice and Brian Stokle
In the near future I hope to set up a way to purchase the posters directly through this web site or through Etsy. I'll keep you posted on this blog post and on Twitter @urbanlifesigns.

San Francisco Topography Map (2013) 16"x16" in its atlas style is on sale at Local Take for $36.


  1. Brian, I like this a great deal! Just wanted to call your attention to Billy Goat Hill, which I believe is mislabeled on your map. It is my understanding that Billy Goat Hill refers to the promontory above 30th St and Castro St, not the hill at Duncan St and Castro St. (See ) I don't know what name, if any, the hill at Duncan and Castro has. Best, Drew

  2. Drew, thanks for the comment and observation. Billy Goat Hill is a tricky one. Here are what several sources say about it.

    SF Gazeteer by Dave Schweisguth
    Billy Goat Hill is part of the north slope of Fairmount.

    47 Hills does not mention it.

    I can't find any other info at the moment. If we assume you're right, then the real question is the mystery of the hill at Duncan & Castro. Schweisguth says it's unnamed, but could be called Duncan Hill since Castro Hill is already taken as a name. says that Billy Goat Hill is at Duncan and Castro.

    So there's a bit of confusion. Do you have any other sources beyond Rec and Park?

  3. Dear Brian,
    I think you did a fantastic job! I was wondering how you drew the topographic lines?
    I am studying my master thesis in architecture, and my site is SF, more specific Lands End. I will need to create a map with the hills and all, but have difficulties with finding material in good quality.
    I was wondering if you could share some advise?
    (I'm danish, so I don't know much about access to datebase in the states)
    Hopeful wishes from


Post a Comment

Popular Posts